Sunday, April 17, 2011
Books: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
Yes, that Steve Martin. This is the third book I've read by Steve Martin, and it's the third one that I've liked. I really enjoy his prose style as it's approachable, and not pandering to some kind of elitism, which I find a lot of actors, who think they can write, do.
The story is about Lacey Yeager's rise in the art world as she climbs the ladder from being in the basement of Sotheby's, to an assistant to a world class art dealer, to one day owning her own gallery as a buyer and seller. But it is a more than just Lacey's story. It's about this elite art world where very few of us can get into. Money flows as much as the champagne parties. Deals are made behind the scenes. Art isn't just art. It's a commodity. Lacey is beyond ambitious. She's a master manipulator, and isn't afraid to use her feminine wiles to get what she wants, and she does it very well. She even gets the narrator of the story to do something he will one day regret.
I like the structure of the story. It's different in that we have a narrator who isn't in the story that much, but we get his perspective on Lacey's life, either from first hand knowledge or things that he's gleamed from his "imagination". We have to let our own imaginations go, and allow Daniel Franks, tell us this story in his own way. The book also has photos of art work, and I really enjoyed seeing some of these paintings that the characters were describing. I think I might have found a new fondness for artwork. Time will only tell. I have yet to own a proper painting. The question, I guess, then is, what is a proper painting? Is it objective or subjective as to what makes art, art? Hmmm.
The read is fascinating and entertaining, and Martin has kind of educated his readers without brow beating us with boring prose or too much explanation about art theory.
If you have the time, and are so inclined then I recommend reading An Object of Beauty. Despite an open ending with no bells and whistles, it's a very pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon (or a sunny morning).