Movie Review: "The Art of the Steal"



If you are a Memphian, and most of you are that read this blog, I highly suggest you give Ridgeway 4 a try for your movie viewing. This theater, along with the Appletree, Winchester Court, and Trinity Commons were the theaters of my childhood(all have which closed). So, I decided to head out to see “The Art of the Steal” a few Sundays ago. I had heard about this film while perusing the Apple movie trailers site. I’m a sucker for documentaries and art-et voila-here I was sitting with my Diet Coke and M&M’s…and 4 other people. It was, uh, cozy.

The documentary begins with the history of the Barnes Collection(which, frankly, I had never heard of before at this point…oops), and how it was “stolen” to Philadelphia’s Museum of Modern Art..or was it? Dr. Albert Barnes gained his fortune(billions and billions) by creating the compounds to make Argyrol, an antiseptic to help treat gonorrhea…hm.

Anyway, he became an avid art collector and amassed a 25 billion dollar collection that made an art buyer green with envy. The collection was never to be moved, bought, or shown in any museum other than at the Barnes Foundation. Ever. The documentary shows just how far money, power, politics, greed, and the love of art will go. It is a very suspenseful and entertaining movie(the lawyer who support the Barnes is pretty comical, along with many of the art historians they interview).

Art lovers will enjoy this movie, and it was a nice change from the regular blockbusters. I hope it is still playing at Rway4 or just catch it on Netflix.

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