As I love art and art history, this contemporary story of the art world was a real pleasure and Martin's writing style and insight made me think about art and what it means to me. Martin tells a story of Lacey Yeager whose ambition is to charm her way up the social ladder of New York City's art scene. As we learn about her professional and personal adventures, we also learn about the world of art auctions, galleries, and art sellers and buyers.
When I finished the story, I looked Steve Martin up to learn more about his intentions for this story and his own art collecting experience. Here is a lovely video in which Martin summarizes art as a piece that cannot really ever be fully understood. As such, this piece is always intriguing to the viewer. Martin himself collects art and constantly searches for meaning and what makes each painting stand out.
When I see art, I go by feeling. While I may have a modest knowledge of art history, I always find myself going back to the first impression of each art piece I come across. I may love a piece by Picasso while I am completely unimpressed by another piece of his. I don't have a sense of value of art - for me it is all about the feeling art evokes in me. I don't always go for pleasant experience; I value when a piece of art disturbs my common ways of seeing the world around me.
Martin's view on what is art is reflected in the story as he presents us with many different characters. In contrast to his own belief, he also introduces people whose sole purpose is to "figure a piece of art out" - they believe they know what the artist intended and thus they buy the art piece as a trophy of their accomplishment. Their interpretation may be simplistic or wrong but ultimately they tie their confidence and owning art to this ability.
If you enjoy art and wish to get a deeper insight into the world of art dealing, reach out for "An Object of Beauty" - you will learn tons! You may even start seeing art in a new way.