‘An Object of Beauty: A Novel’ by Steve Martin

25Apr11

Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty: A Novel is a great book. It traces the machinations of the art market through the career trajectory of the main character, Lacey, who begins in the bins at Christies, middles at a secondary gallery on the upper East Side and then ends as an emerging art gallerist in the best and ultimately, the worst of times.

I found myself holding my breath every time Steve Martin ventured into Art historical references, but was pleasantly surprised how on target he was. As one member of the book club pointed out, it would work really well as an Art historical primer, and she was really surprised by just how much actual art info. he was able to weave into his fictional tale.

Martin’s unsentimental observations about Chelsea, Art Fairs, and the hot emerging market (the young art star is a street artist) ring true, sometimes uncomfortably so, to an emerging artist (!)

We  initially decided to read this book because we were looking for art-world fiction, which is hard to find. Steve Martin, with this book, is indisputably the king of the genre, even while he does an uncanny job weaving the non-fiction in with the fiction. From mentioning Gagosian (where Martin had a book release party) to name-dropping real critics and collectors he must surely be friends with, it leaves you speculating who the fictional characters are based on, which is of course, great sport!

A final note, many of us in the club chose to listen to this book on Audible, narrated by Campbell Scott, as this is one of our rare reads that’s available in an audio format, perfect for listening to in the studio.

-Gina Beavers

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