Friday, February 26, 2010

"Less a doc than a polemic"

Philadelphia Weekly: "[Argott] pushes his argument too hard—so absurdly hard, in fact, that the only sane response is to think it’s not really THAT big a deal. . . . [O]ne of the opening sound bites charges that the Barnes move is 'the biggest act of cultural vandalism since World War II.' Seriously? Barring a miracle, the collection will move 4.2 miles, into a building that will retain its owner’s eccentric layout .... THIS is tantamount to the Rape of Europa? ... The Art of the Steal is riddled with such hyperbole and fuzzy reasoning, and each instance pops yet another tiny hole in the collective argument. No one addresses the pros of the move—that more people would be able to see, say, Matisse’s Le bonheur de vivre, or that it would bring mucho tourism dollars to a city so cash-strapped it nearly closed its libraries. Such are the limitations of the polemic, which like its close cousin, propaganda, aims for the heart first and the head a distant second."