It’s been another busy week for us at the gallery: between getting ready for the holidays, getting ready to see the end of the construction that has been plaguing us SINCE APRIL, a few ups a few downs…. You know, the usual craziness.
In the midst of all of this, I have had the gall to leave Kristina, Kristen, Amanda and Laura for a few days to go to one of my favoritest (it’s my word and I can use it if I want to) places for a few days – theoretically to get some work done on the Klinger book (I’ve changed the publishing deadline from next year to “sometime before I die”, but I’d still like to get it out of my head), and also to take care of some other rather pressing issues.
One of the joys of travelling is the fact that it affords me the time to read. Somehow, between working, mothering, daughtering, dog walking and – oh yes – breathing, when I’m home, I never have the required headspace to read for pleasure. I can skim documents like a madwoman, but real reading… that’s something that plane rides and airports are for (OK, that and duty-free shopping…)
A friend gave me her copy of Steve Martin’s latest book, An Object of Beauty. I read Shopgirl and didn’t love it, but since this latest tome is about art and galleries and the people who work in or with both, I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m very glad I did.
Martin is consistently himself: somewhat amused, somewhat patronizing and always just a little bit confused. In An Object of Beauty I realized that he is also a very, very capable author.
Here is part of the New York Times review of the book:
“An Object of Beauty” either cannot or will not separate the power of art from the fetishistic, status-driven behavior that the big-ticket art market engenders. The knowingly nuanced descriptions of this behavior are at the book’s real heart. Mr. Martin, as notable for his serious art collecting as for so many other things, could not have written so knowingly about this culture without being part of it, however vicariously. How else could he describe Thursday night as “prom night for the smart set” at Chelsea galleries, “a night to be smug, cool, to dress up or dress down, and to bring into focus everything one loves about oneself and make it tangible.” How else would he know that paintings can be collected not only because of the way they look “but because of a winding path that leads a collector to his prey”?
“The Matisse seemed to respond to the decreasing light by increasing its own wattage. Every object in the room was drained of color, but the Matisse stood firm in the de-escalating illumination, its beauty turning functionality inside out, making itself a more practical and useful presence than anything else in sight.” ~ An Object of Beauty, Steve Martin
“An Object of Beauty” features 22 reproductions of quirkily varied artworks, from a festive Tissot to a starkly simple Martin Avery to a Warhol Marilyn Monroe. All are ingeniously worked into the narrative in ways that advance the story, underscore Mr. Martin’s critical acuity and kindle the collector’s instinct in even the most potentially indifferent reader.” (for the full review, go here)
One of the things I like best about this man is that in spite of his prodigious talent, he still seems a bit befuddled, in an engaging, non-neurotic way. If you’d like to hear what he had to say to NPR, go here.