Nickolette's Reviews > An Object of Beauty

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
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's review
Jul 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary
Read in July, 2012

For someone who has at least some affinity towards art, “An Object of Beauty” will reveal many of the ambiguities in the art world. And it seems to me the form of the novel is the most befitting means for this to be delivered. "Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?" is a documentary which brings some light on how the market works but is a sad and uninspiring story as a whole. Here the world of art is communicated on several levels. First, it shows how the auction houses work, then the collector’s fever, then the pure appreciation of art for its sake but also how the price of it distorts its aesthetics. It shows how artificial this world is and simultaneously how important. It shows the business side and at the same time how art influences people and steers their conversations. It captures NYC in the height of this trade, during 9/11 and in the current times of financial crisis.

The protagonist, Lacey Yeager, is overall luring despite of her actions. Opportunism is evermore justifiable and in that context I don’t find her really appalling. Her character made me reflect on something from a Philip Roth’s novella - The Dying Animal - when he wonders what a woman could actually do with her beauty, what is she supposed to do.

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