Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Argott is also, unquestionably, an advocate"

The Art of the Steal is out this week on DVD. DVD Talk reviews it here:

"There are, after all, real questions to be asked about who 'owns' art, and who has the 'right' to see it; are we supposed to cheer Barnes for amassing this tremendous collection and then proudly, spitefully keeping it away from the general public? (The collection didn't become available for viewing by non-students until 1961, and then only a couple of days a week, by appointment.) The film affords plenty of screen time for the self-proclaimed arbiters of art, but seems almost afraid to let anyone ask the simple question: shouldn't people be able to see this collection? (The closest it gets is Philly mayor turned Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who despairs that the collection is 'being hidden away from the world.') Yes, these were Barnes's wishes, but was he right? Probably. But it's not quite as black-and-white as is portrayed here."