Monday, September 13, 2010
"THE ART OF THE STEAL"
"....surely there are more nuanced arguments for the move than those found here, which could only strengthen the documentary, saving it from caricature. At times the fight comes across as a smackdown between art snobs who want to preserve Barnes’s right to exhibit his masterworks however he wanted because, well, he paid for them (a curiously underexamined refrain), and vulgarians who want to turn his patrimony into tourist bait along with the Liberty Bell and an actor in a Ben Franklin getup. What remains unanswered, finally, is the larger question of whether deep pockets ensure custodial rights forever."
I had a similar question going through my head, one that definitely leads down a slippery slope. Is there something called "the public interest" as it relates to arts and culture? Would Modigliani, Renoir and Picasso masterworks be more beneficial to "society" if put in the public sphere, or because of Barnes' purchase of them, does he have full rights to hide them, deface them or even destroy them? I suppose he does indeed have those rights, and it's why I side with the documentarians - but they could have at least asked the question, you know? Hedonist Jive says 3 stars, on a 5 scale.