Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Art of The Steal

If you want to see a wonderful documentary, get down to the Palm Theatre ASAP to see "The Art of the Steal."  It's a fascinating film about so many things: art, money, ego, power, ego, lies, theft, more ego, magic (as in, isn't it amazing how things can happen in State legislatures involving hundreds of millions of tax dollars and NOBODY has any idea how it happened, just "magic"), legal theft, lazy judges, greedy mayors, corrupt and corrupting "charities," including some of the largest and most famous, more grudges among wealthy, evil people, and The Golden Rule: Them that has the gold, make the rules.  And finally, "C'mon, Jake, it's Chinatown." "Legal" theft, bit by bit. 

At its simplest level, it's the story about a Doctor Barnes (with an extraordinary aesthetic "eye") who made gazillions and spent gazillions buying some of the finest examples of post-impressionist art the world has ever seen, put it all together as both a collection and as a school to teach art and use the collection in situ as a didactic tool, who sets up a will spelling out exactly what the terms of his foundation can and can't do.

And what happens when the founder of such a collection/foundation dies, and over time his priceless (literally, priceless) collection is coveted by others for their own purposes.

It is both a quintessential "art" story, a tragic example of how a vision can be destroyed by people with other agendas, and a story of the powerful forces at work that shape our present day culture and its comodification of everything.  The art of the steal, indeed.  Aptly named.  Don't miss it.

1 comment:

Mike said...


...sort of like making an "agreement" to share legal costs with a small utility district and then not paying...

That kind of "stealing"...??? Never thought of it as an art form, but if it makes you feel all warm and rosy about your participation... oh well, it's only the taxpayers who get screwed...