Friday, February 26, 2010

"The distortions start with the film's title"

Lee Rosenbaum posts part one of her review of "The Art of the Steal." Some highlights:

  • "No Barnes masterpieces have been 'stolen' ... There was no 'heist.' ... This intrastate transport of masterpieces is surely not 'the greatest act of cultural vandalism since World War II.'"
  • "Perhaps the best metaphor for what happened to the Barnes is 'takeover': The institution fell into stronger hands after being seriously vitiated by mismanagement and further endangered by the then-hostile neighbors who, paradoxically, are now leading the charge to keep it in Merion."
  • "Argott disingenuously told Eric Kohn of the Wall Street Journal that he 'went into this with a blank slate,' when in fact he received his assignment from executive producer Lenny Feinberg, a ... former Barnes Foundation student, who made it clear during the post-screening discussion on stage at the New York Film Festival that he was always intent on an exposé."
  • "The strangest gaffe is the film's heavy reliance on Mark Schwartz for elucidiation of the legal case. Schwartz is identified in the film as an attorney for Montgomery County and the Friends of the Barnes. Unmentioned in the film (and perhaps unknown to Argott) is that both the County and the Friends got Schwartz off the case early---a result of various missteps (including arguments in court that provoked the judge to admonish him), as well as a payment dispute."