The Price of Everything

2018

Action / Documentary

1
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 93% · 54 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 95% · 100 ratings
IMDb Rating 7.3/10 10 1318 1.3K

Director

Top cast

Woody Allen as Self - Man at Sotheby's auction
Andy Warhol as Self
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
909.09 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
Seeds 6
1.82 GB
1920*1080
English 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
Seeds 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by paul2001sw-1 8 / 10

Modern art, ancient story

The true nature of art has always been a contested question; just as history is apohorically written by the victors, then maybe art is defined by the collectors. Artists have always also depended on, and catered to, rich patrons; many have used studios of assistants to help scale up quantity. While humans inevitably seek status, and owning rare goods is one way of doing this; indeed, if there are not enough status symbols to go round, the rich will invent them, and, as they like to consider their wealth as a talent, they will take particular pleasure in owning symbols which self-justify their enormous price tags by increasing in value. These may all be eternal truths, but nowhere are they more apparent than in the hyper-inflated modern art market, which one can think of almost entirely as a product of the perverse imbalance of wealth in this world, regardless of whether you appreciate the work.

This documentary gives us an insight into some of the collectors, and some of the rather unappealing individuals who manage the sales (I guess the aristocrat always has more opportunity for style than the hustler or sycophant trying to live off them). What doesn't quite work is it's portrait of the artists, and it's attempt to divide them into "commercial" and "principled"; the divide might make sense, but the film doesn't really justify it's choices. Nor do we see any glimpse of the ordinary world of the thousands of artists who never become known names; or really understand how a handful manage to cross that line. If you've seen the documentary 'Sour Grapes', about a fine wine scam, you'll get some of the same vibes with a bit more story. Nonetheless, it's still an interesting glimpse into how the sausage of modern art gets made.

Reviewed by paul-allaer 6 / 10

"It's important for good art to be expensive" and other adventures in contemporary art

"The Price of Everything" (2018 release; 100 min.) is a documentary about the world of contemporary art. As the movie opens, we watch a Sotheby's auction unfolding. "It's important for good art to be expensive", observes an art dealer, as we see the prices at that auction reaching ludicrous highs. The documentary focuses on two artists with similar last names (Jeff Koons, and Larry Poons), and who couldn't me more different in their approach and creation of contemporary arts. Koons is like the CEO of a mega-company, with many underlings cranking out new works (and these works are snapped up by eager collectors), whereas Poons has left the "corporate track" decades ago and now works with his wife in a remote location and at his leisure (but no less passionate about art).... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest from documentarian Nathaniel Kahn, whose previous films include the excellent "My Architecture". Here he takes a look at the contemporary arts scene: what constitutes art, do art collector collect as an investment or for the love of art, why at times it feels more like a stock market than a museum, how new art is created, etc. Many 'talking heads' pass the review. I have to admit that I am not at all a connoisseur of contemporary art. Who am I to object against someone paying an outrageous amount of money for a piece of art? It reminds me of the seemingly limitless amount of money thrown at free agents in sports: are they worth it? Well, someone thinks so, so yes, they are. Kahn collects many great quotes from his talking heads: "Auction is a trading house for assets", and "To be a collector you have to be shallow", and "In the art world, there are many followers and few leaders", and "A lot of people know the price of everything and the value of nothing", and that's just a handful of them. In the end this is an enjoyable film, but there is nothing "revolutionary" in here as such.

This documentary premiered at this year's Sundance film festival to good acclaim. HBO snapped it up and I saw it recently on HBO On Demand. If you have an avid interest in art, and even more so if your interest is in contemporary art, I'd readily suggest you check it out and draw your own conclusion.

Reviewed by dloft59 7 / 10

Meandering yet trenchant

It's hardly a new observation that capitalism and money have swamped the production and appreciation of art around the world in recent decades. It's not even a new subject for a documentary.

Yet "The Price of Everything" explores this topic in an unhurried and largely nonjudgmental way. Sharp and thought-provoking comments are provided by working artists, dealers, art historians, wealthy collectors, and even auctioneers, but the movie doesn't take sides.

Hugely successful and almost industrial-scale sculptor Jeff Koons (fittingly, a former Wall Street trader) is contrasted with once-hot, now largely forgotten abstract painter Larry Poons, quietly continuing to labor in his converted barn of a studio in the woods at the age of 80.

Nigerian-born collage and paint artist Njideka Akunyiki Crosby pursues her work calmly and wonders about how she can and will develop over time. Older photorealist painter Marilyn Minter looks wrily back as much as forward. Amy Cappellazzo, an executive at Sotheby's, speaks feelingly of the beauty and meaning of art while simultaneously citing the prices she expects pieces to bring at auction and the people she has in mind to get to buy them.

Although it can feel a bit aimless -- more of a mosaic than a panorama or story with an arc -- there is a structure to this film. Preparations are made in anticipation of a major Sotheby's auction and an exhibit by a once-celebrated-but-now-obscure artist, both of which occur near the end.

There's no urgency, and no climax. If there are heroes or villains, you'll have to pick them yourself. Just allow the comments of the articulate interviewees, and the beauty of the artpieces, wash through your eyes and ears . . . and draw your own conclusions.

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