Reacting to the refunding of tickets to the actor’s conversation with Deborah Solomon held at 92Y, Steve Martin has offered to erase his name from books he signed at the community center. A gesture oddly reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg!

Why so much fuss, you may ask? The public chat held between the actor/art collector and Solomon, a New York Times Magazine columnist, bored audiences so much that 92Y has offered a $50 refund to all who purchased tickets to the event, which had earlier sold out. So Steve, peeved by the talk’s reception, offered his own refund, seen above.

Blog Em Dashes reports that “it took only a few minutes for Solomon to alienate the audience thoroughly,” as the writer treated her interview “more like a book report” documenting Martin’s latest novel, An Object of Beauty, which takes place in the art world. Solomon led Steve and the audience in a chapter by chapter, scene by scene analysis of the book. But as it turns out, audiences were a little less interested in the actor’s fictionalized art world travails than, say, his acting.

Surprised? I’m not, really. However, 92Y’s reaction to the misdirected conversation comes off a little like one of those canes that drags actors offstage. A staff member came onstage and handed Solomon a card that read “Ask him about his career,” an unsubtle attempt to move the chat to more universal subject matter.

Steve Martin came off as bemused and maybe a little amused in the New York Times piece covering the refunded chat, but on his Twitter the actor was more forceful:

If this isn’t the most serious topic in the world, at least it’s entertaining. While I don’t foresee any lasting consequences for 92Y as a result of this affair, I think they’ll be more careful handing out cue cards in the future. Maybe audiences should just be allowed to boo and throw rotten fruit to express their displeasure instead?

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Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...

2 replies on “Steve Martin Gives His Own Refund For 92Y”

  1. Steve Martin doesn’t pretend to be the next Hal Foster, but he’s not an idiot, and his observations about the absurdities of the art world are pretty spot-on. I think it’s lame that an audience at the 92nd Street Y (which I presume were your uptown pedigreed New Yorkers in black) were thirsting after celebrity gossip instead. I saw him a month ago at the Getty in LA and sure, it made me think about him playing the banjo in ‘The Jerk’ (swoon!) but everyone was plenty happy listening to him read from his new novel, which btw, was hilarious.

  2. Who wants to be Hal Foster anyway? Besides Hal Foster. Dave Hickey maybe. Good response from Steve on erasing his signature LOL.

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