The Art Of The Steal Reviews
Issues about the story:
Yes, Barnes did get screwed and it's a shame, but I kinda take umbrage on eccentric billionaires who want to control who gets to access Art, when it should be shared with the public! I don't appreciate the bullies who take and eventually get what they want, but I also don't appreciate the egomaniacs who feel they are entitled to dictate who should get to see great works of art. True, they were his possessions, and he could do with them what he pleased. But, in the end, wasn't he also flaunting his power just as much as the others who eventually ended up winning? I guess the morale of the story is: Control breeds contempt.
As an exemplification of the way that the field of play overwhelmingly favours the U.S. monied elite, this documentary has its notable points. But the whole argument for the Barnes Collection staying where it is comes across as epically snobbish, to say nothing of it being swamped by its own persecution complex. Is the ideal of art really for it to be seen by as few people as possible, to be so completely controlled by the idiosyncratic whims of its owner alone? I can sympathize with the Friends of the Barnes' anti-corporate-capitalism views, certainly, but the art world, as lucrative and prestigious as it may be, seems like an odd place to try and impose it.