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An Object of Beautyby Steve Martin
In the '90s art world, Lacey Yeager is on the make and on the rise. She is selfish and unlikeable but has an astute charm that draws people in. I couldn't stop reading until I found out if she would succeed or go down in richly deserved flames.
"A mix of artists, collectors, dealers, and writers wander in and out of the plot, which is contrived to include all parts of the New York art scene, from private Upper East Side galleries to downtown alternative spaces, and the story includes a few standard art world misdeeds: stolen paintings, fakes, self-dealing. Martin interposes fictional characters with real people — Larry Gagosian, William Acquavella, John Updike, John Richardson, Peter Schjeldahl, and other well-known figures make cameo appearances. Many of the settings of the book are stenographically rendered as well — the restaurants, the bars, and the galleries where the glitterati of the art world actually hang out." Andrew Butterfield, The New Republic (Read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby's and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallels the soaring heights — and, at times, the dark lows — of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.
"Martin compresses the wild and crazy end of the millennium and finds in this piercing novel a sardonic morality tale. Lacey Yeager is an ambitious young art dealer who uses everything at her disposal to advance in the world of the high-end art trade in New York City. After cutting her teeth at Sotheby's, she manipulates her way up through Barton Talley's gallery of 'Very Expensive Paintings,' sleeping with patrons, and dodging and indulging in questionable deals, possible felonies, and general skeeviness until she opens her own gallery in Chelsea. Narrated by Lacey's journalist friend, Daniel Franks, whose droll voice is a remarkable stand-in for Martin's own, the world is ordered and knowable, blindly barreling onward until 9/11. And while Lacey and the art she peddles survive, the wealth and prestige garnered by greed do not. Martin (an art collector himself) is an astute miniaturist as he exposes the sound and fury of the rarified Manhattan art world. If Shopgirl was about the absence of purpose, this book is about the absence of a moral compass, not just in the life of an adventuress but for an entire era. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Martin includes reproductions of artwork referenced in the text, lending another layer of sophistication to an already absorbing story. An artfully told tale of trade, caste and the obsessive mindset of collectors." Kirkus Reviews
"This page-turner is likely to make readers feel like they have been given a backstage pass to an elite world few are privileged to observe." Booklist
Lacey Yeager charms men and women with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallels the highs and lows of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.
About the Author
Steve Martin is a legendary writer, actor, and performer. His film credits include Father of the Bride, Parenthood, The Spanish Prisoner, and Bringing Down the House, as well as Roxanne, L.A. Story, and Bowfinger, for which he also wrote the screenplays. He's won Emmys for his television writing and two Grammys for comedy albums. In addition to a play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, he has written a bestselling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, and a bestselling novella, Shopgirl, which was made into a movie.
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