The Price of Everything

The Price of Everything

(2018)

Sundance Grand Jury Prize-nominated documentary examining the dynamics at play in pricing blue chip art pieces.... More

"Basquiat paintings regularly fetch tens of millions of dollars, and the recent sale of a little-known Da Vinci topped $450 million — but what forces are driving the white-hot art market? Who assigns and who pays these astronomical sums? What currency adequately measures art’s value? The Price of Everything leads us into a rarefied labyrinth of galleries, studios, and auction houses to wrestle with these questions and explore what society loses and gains when art becomes a rich person’s commodity." (Sundance Film Festival)Hide

  • Directed by Nathaniel Kahn ('My Architect')

    • Documentary, Festival & Independent
    • 105mins
    • Rating: M Coarse language and nudity
    • USA

Flicks Review

Watching The Price of Everything invites feelings of aggravation toward the art world. You want to hate the obscenely rich snapping up multi-million-dollar artworks for their own private collection. You want to hate the slimy wheelers-and-dealers who might else well be trading stock. You want to hate the artists who crank out pieces like they’re making designer handbags.... More

But director Nathaniel Kahn—perhaps realising the contemporary art market is the easiest, most obvious thing to skewer (looking at you Velvet Buzzsaw)—approaches the subject from an open, genuinely curious, rather than sneeringly critical, place. We’re afforded the chance to ponder, along with him, the paradoxical, uneasy, but decidedly fascinating union of art and commerce.

Kahn finds an accessible way in by paralleling the career paths of two artists. Up in the art-elite stratosphere is Jeff Koons, a former Wall Street broker whose shiny, slick objects of desire continue to fetch bids around the price range of your average blockbuster movie. Away from the bustling auction houses, there’s Larry Poons, a forgotten 81-year-old relic from the ‘60s toiling away on a batch of abstract paintings in his remote Catskills garage (“A lot of people have thought I was dead for a long time,” he tells Kahn).

If your art isn’t going under the hammer, is it even great? Kahn’s documentary doesn’t arrive at any definitive answers. It examines the question from various contexts, gathering thoughtful responses from critics, historians, auctioneers, curators, dealers and artists into a slight but buoyant, absorbing survey of a complicated, increasingly inseparable relationship.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Your rating & review
Rate / Review this movie

The Press Reviews

  • An entertaining if not comprehensive look at the bubble in blue-chip art. Full Review

  • [A] brilliant and captivating documentary about how the art world got converted into a money market... Full Review

  • There’s something so fluid, almost nebulous, about its construction that a chasm starts to open up where you would expect to find some kind of unifying thesis. Full Review

  • While this colorful and inquisitive cinematic essay on the state of the art world is occasionally skeptical and consistently thoughtful, cynicism isn’t really on its agenda. Full Review

  • Kahn is a quiet filmmaker, and he gently prods his sources to go beyond the typical art world hyperbole of "gorgeous" and "wonderful." Full Review

  • An intelligent film, 'The Price of Everything' is also very funny - usually on purpose, though some of the art is ridiculous. Full Review

  • Cool and nominally neutral, there is nonetheless a genius use of one scene from Martin Scorsese's grim and glossily-reproachful The Wolf of Wall Street that makes the director's feelings on the subject crystal clear. Full Review

The Talk
100 %

Want to see it

What say you?