Steve Martin’s Indigenous Australian Art Collection Goes On Exhibit

The show will launch next month at the Gagosian Gallery in New York.

Steven Martin is sharing his love of art. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Steven Martin is sharing his love of art. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

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Steve Martin, a wild and crazy guy, as everybody knows, is also an eclectic and dedicated art collector.

His treasures include works by indigenous Australian desert painters, which he’s loaning to the acclaimed Gagosian Gallery in New York City for an exhibit next month, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Martin’s interest in American artists such as Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper and David Hockney reaches back than four decades. His interest in Western Desert painter Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri is more recent, according to ABC. Four years ago the actor and author read an article that led him to the artist’s show. Martin ended up buying a painting for his home.

“I’d truly never seen anything like it before. I still have it hanging in the house,” Martin told ABC, adding that he didn’t realize the art was part of a movement.

Since that initial acquisition, Martin’s interest Western Desert art, which has a lyrically abstract quality, has grown and his collection has expanded. The exhibit at the Gagosian grew out of an intimate show he curated for friends.

The public spotlight in the NYC show, May 3 to July 3, art experts say, could open doors for the ten artists whose works are on display. Veteran Aboriginal art dealer Christopher Hodges has described the upcoming exhibition as “a moment in the spotlight, at the very serious money end of that spotlight.”

The desert paintings speak to Martin in other ways. “These abstract paintings are not so abstract, they’re actually narrative and they tell tale,” Martin told ABC. “That separates them from normal abstract painting, which is visual and intellectual. These are visual, intellectual, but also emotional.”

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