Steve Martin's Art Flop at the Y, New Art Fair (e)Merges in D.C., and More Must-Read Art News

Steve Martin's Art Flop at the Y, New Art Fair (e)Merges in D.C., and More Must-Read Art News

Wild and Crazy Y: When beloved comedian Steve Martin appeared at the 92nd Street Y in New York to discuss his new art-world novel "The Object of Beauty" with New York Times inquisitor Deborah Solomon, audience members apparently expected him to do his King Tut shtick and quote "Father of the Bride" — anything other than talk about his novel and interest in art. Furious viewers deluged the Y with email complaints during the course of the talk, prompting a note to be sent to Solomon asking her to talk more about Martin's film work. The following day, Y director Sol Adler wrote to ticket-buyers offering a full refund. “We planned for a more comprehensive discussion and we, too, were disappointed with the evening,” he stated. [WSJ

D.C. Art (e)Merges: What's Helen Allen, former director of the Pulse Art Fair, up to these days, as Pulse goes on without her down in Miami? Launching a new fair, that's what! Allen is teaming up with Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith, cofounders of D.C. gallery Conner Contemporary Art, to launch (e)Merge, a new fair in the capital that will debut September 22-25, at the Morris Lapidus-designed Capitol Skyline Hotel. The new endeavor has the support of collectors Don and Mera Rubell, who have been expanding their art/hotel empire in D.C. [Washington City Paper]

Cali Museums in Crisis: After seeing its funding slashed by $600,000 in the coming fiscal year, the Oakland Museum has announced that it will radically alter its relationship to the city, with its nonprofit arm, the Oakland Museum of California Foundation, assuming control over operations. Currently, almost half of its 100 employees are city workers. Across California, budgetary woes are dramatically affecting the support museums can expect. “What appears to have been happening across the board is that local government is trying to divest itself of museums, especially of employees, but one of the sticking points is that cities often own the buildings and the museum’s collections,” said Edward M. Luby, professor of museum studies at San Francisco State University. [The Bay Citizen]

A Street Art Find, But At What COST?: Back in November, the Williamsburg street art show "The Community Serviced" served up twenty-four newspaper boxes decorated by artists, then had them installed throughout the city. These custom-defaced boxes have proved a tempting target for fledgling street-art entrepreneurs, with one box originally installed in the Lower East Side — decorated by conceptual graffiti pioneer COST — appearing on eBay. With nine bids, the current asking price is $1,025. [Gothamist]

More Woe for Russian Political Artists: The Russian guerrilla art group Voina (War) is facing persecution following a performance, "Palace Revolution," that involved turning seven police cars upside-down in the center of St. Petersburg as a protest against police misconduct. Two of the group's members have been arrested, while a third has fled to Estonia, where he is currently without papers. [Russian Profile]

Photo Finished? Guardian photo critic Sean O'Hagen has a question about the £30,000 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, which is meant to honor "the best of international photography practice." Noting that all four finalists this year — Thomas Demand, Elad Lassry, Roe Ethridge, and Jim Goldberg — "interrogate the medium," O'Hagen wants to know: "Is this a prize just for conceptualists?" [Guardian]

Video of the Day: PlumTV interviews Modern Painters editor Daniel Kunitz about what to look for at the Miami fairs. [PlumTV]