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Steve Martin + 'Colbert Report' + art = ?

December 9, 2010 |  1:32 pm
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Wednesday night, Steve Martin appeared on "The Colbert Report" to talk about his book "An Object of Beauty," a novel set in the art world. A similar discussion with Martin was said to have gone awry in late November in New York at the 92nd Street Y. According to a N.Y. Times report, the conversation focused too much on art.

So of course, that's just what Stephen Colbert did, turning the conversation to art after only a brief mention of the book. First Colbert quizzed Martin, our blog Show Tracker reports

"Can you identify this famous European painter?" Stephen Colbert asked. He was giving Steve Martin an art quiz in honor of the multi-talented actor's new novel, "An Object of Beauty," about an art dealer in New York City. Martin admitted that he could not identify the work Colbert put on the screen. 

"Do you like this artist?" Colbert asked. "I don't really like that, no," said Martin. "Well, that's good for you," said Colbert. "Because this was actually painted by Hitler."

The absurdity of the talk between the two comedians should not be surprising. At one point, Colbert had Martin decide between Ellsworth Kelly's "Green" and a Sherwin-Williams paint swatch.

Afterward the quiz, Martin was asked to judge a painting -- a truly atrocious portrait of Stephen Colbert. The clip above includes special appearances by the artists Frank Stella, Andres Serrano and Shepard Fairey. It's totally unedited, giving each of us the chance to see what it's like to watch Steve Martin talk about art and judge for ourselves. What do you think -- is it entertaining?

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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