The Art of the Steal
Director: Don Argott Run Time: 101 min. Format: Digital Rating: NR Release Year: 2009
Starring: Christopher Knight, David D'Arcy, John F. Street, Julian Bond, Richard Feigen, Richard H. Glanton, Ross L. Mitchell
Following up on our February presentation of The Rape of Europa, Art Seen presents an unmissable look at one of the art world’s most fascinating controversies in THE ART OF THE STEAL. Playing before the feature is frieze video: Audience Appreciation.
Don Argott’ gripping documentary The Art of the Steal chronicles the long and dramatic struggle for control of the Barnes Foundation (a private collection of art valued at more than $25 billion). In 1922, Dr. Albert C. Barnes formed a remarkable educational institution around his priceless collection of art located just five miles outside of Philadelphia. More than 50 years after Barnes’ death, a powerful group of moneyed interests went to court for control of the with the intention to bring it to a new museum in Philadelphia. Standing in their way was a group of Barnes’ former students and his will, which contains strict instructions stating the Foundation should always be an educational institution, and that the paintings may never be removed. While we now know what ultimately happened, witness the still relevant battle between artistic intentions and cultural tourism.