Monday, February 22, 2010

"No one seeing 'The Art of the Steal' will be left wondering where the filmmakers’ sympathies are"

There was a good story in Sunday's New York Times on "The Art of the Steal," which opens Friday in New York. The key point is one I've made here several times: the movie is a polemic; don't go in expecting even a remotely balanced presentation.

It notes that the project came to the director, Don Argott, "through a former Barnes student named Lenny Feinberg"; that "the title itself ... makes clear what [the filmmakers'] think transpired behind the scenes"; that "some" might describe the film's style as "heavy-handed"; and that "some members of the museum world who have seen the film have ... taken sharp issue with many of Mr. Argott’s conclusions and with the style in which they are presented."

I think Linda Eaton, director of collections at the Winterthur Museum, sums it up nicely: "The film obviously had a message that didn’t reflect the complexities of the issues."

Be forewarned.