Steve Martin and Eric Fischl, Phoenix Art Museum

Last night we enjoyed a conversation at the Phoenix Art Museum between friends Steve Martin, Eric Fischl and Fischel’s wife, painter April Gornik. (This event celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Eric Fischl Lecture Series and Phoenix College Student Art Awards.)

Martin: “I see all kinds of highly skilled painters today…To exceed that, some other thing must happen in the painting.”

Fischl: “Artists (I’m sure entertainers are the same) they have to find a hook, find something that stops the audience long enough, grabs their attention long enough that they can do whatever they’re trying to do.”

Steve Martin is curating a show of Canadian painter Lawren Harris. It will open in the Hammer Gallery in Los Angeles in Fall 2015 and then travel. Harris is one of the great painters of Canada, but is hardly known here in the US.

Steve showed several slides of Harris paintings and described The Old Stump Lake Superior, “This was done about 1926. This painting is small. This is a study for his masterpiece. This painting is probably about about 9 x 12 inches. The actual painting of this vibrates.”

And then Steve played two banjo pieces he had written, the first in claw style and the second in three fingers style. Excellent!

Steve Martin playing banjo

Steve Martin playing banjo