Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Welcome to Steve Martin's gallery of portraits!
The subject is the vacuous LA social scene.
First up and the focal point of the show: Mirabelle Buttersfield
Miss Buttersfield is a wallflower coming into her own. She works at a high-end clothing store. Her thoughts on romance and relationships are juvenile.
Next we have a brief study on Jeremy.
He begins as a slacker an evolves into a more successful bit of trite pomposity. His thoughts on romance and relationships are juvenile.
The next subject is a catalyst for change within the arch of Martin's intended scope for this show: Ray Porter
Ray is too wealthy for his own good. It leaves him with too much time on his hands. His thoughts on romance and relationships are juvenile.
Aside from the above, a number of minor works fill out the show.
Critics have lambasted Martin's portraits as non-representative of the true human experience. Those people probably haven't met a Los Angeles socialite, a being who believes that who you know, who you fuck and who you wear is of paramount importance. Some have attacked Martin himself, as if laying blame on him for his subjects' vapid thoughts and actions. This is unfair.
For this reviewer, the portraits themselves are not the problem, it's the overall story that this collection presents that makes the work as a body fall apart. Or perhaps it would be more poignant to say that it falls on its face. As a whole it fails to "move". They are, after all, portraits. They do not move, not themselves nor the viewer.
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