The Art Of The Steal - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Art Of The Steal Reviews

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July 21, 2012
Yet another example of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Glanton was/is complete garbage, and it's a disgrace what was done to Barnes' will, beginning with him. Judge Ott "got bought," no doubt. Art took a back seat to money & power.
July 19, 2012
Unreal! Watch this!
July 18, 2012
A sad spotlight on the battle between corrupt money hungry politicians and their thievery of one of the largest private art collections in the world from a handful of art lovers looking to protect an impressive 25 billion dollar art collection. City Hall vs the 'Burbs. Art vs Politics. Fascinating.
July 16, 2012
Takes a long complicated history and legal tangle of multiple webs angles and puts things in a fairly easy to understand format. While, there was a slant given to one side of the argument, I the 'other' side was given a fair opportunity to explain their perspective. At least that chose to participate in the film. I can see both sides, but, the art owner's wish was the art owner's wish. It should have remained honored . . . for better or worse.
June 16, 2012
A very interesting documentary, especially for people in the Greater Philadelphia area. Many lessons to be learned from the many mistakes on both sides of the issue. Of course money ultimately wins out.
June 7, 2012
Wonderful documentary. Very biased but who cares. I'm soo angry because of this movie
½ May 29, 2012
an interesting heist story, not one you would expect. makes you question everything about legal system. people just don't give a shit about you when you're dead.
May 18, 2012
This movie is infuriating. In an engaging way, the movie details all the infuriating legal and political shenanigans that was done by Pennsylvania elites to wrestle control over one of the most amazing art collections in the world. It will make you angry.
May 3, 2012
Don Argott has done a wonderful job in showing how the Barnes Foundation and Albert C. Barnes' will was violated and left in the dust. This documentary is sure to get art fanatics' blood boiling.
April 27, 2012
A thrilling documentary roots for the small guy - A man gets an airtight will written bequeathing his 25 billion dollar art collection for educational purposes with limited public access. Exquisitely drawn to show how greed and power are found in the Art world just like any place else.
½ March 15, 2012
I loved this documentary. I would recommend it, especially to Philly natives. The only reason I gave it 90 and not 100 is because once or twice towards the end I felt it dragged on.
½ November 28, 2011
This was an excellent film, suspenseful and fascinating, and made me dislike Philadelphia (and Pennsylvania) even more than I already did. What an awful city and state. It's a travesty what they've done to the Barnes Collection.
November 6, 2011
I didn't think anything could make me not like the Pew Charitable Trust
½ November 5, 2011
Entertaining. Not necessarily the most important story being told, but interesting and this movie rides that nice line of "light and entertaining documentary."
November 3, 2011
one of the best documentaries i've ever seen. period.
October 7, 2011
Must see if you love art and if you hate the arrogance of governmental seizure of private property. A compelling heartbreaking & outrageous story.
½ October 1, 2011
Very thought-provoking and conversation-inciting. The story is very captivating and makes you excited to find out what happens next. Very nice film-making.

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.
September 9, 2011
Very interesting, yet, disheartening, documentary on the Barnes Collection and what has happened to control of it. Art shouldn't be all about power, but it often is.
September 5, 2011
Nicely crafted but astoundingly one-sided, "The Art of the Steal" is another example of that most American of "progressive" message entertainment: the underdog story where the underdog is incredibly wealthy, attractive, or talented, or all three. And yet we're still supposed to consider them plucky and genuine and worth rooting for.

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.
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