There is a powerful new documentary out there called The Art of the Steal (http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/02/26/movies/26artof.html). It’s the story of one of the art world’s most wonderfully odd characters, Albert Barnes (d. 1951), his fantastic collection of Renoirs, Cezannes, Matisses et cetera, which came to rest in a suburb of Philadelphia decades ago, and of the planned move of that collection to downtown Philadelphia in 2012.
The documentary has a very strong point of view, obvious from its title, and as a viewer you are certain to react one way or the other. Last Sunday morning I introduced an advanced screening of The Art of the Steal at the Charles Theatre here in Baltimore, and moderated a very lively conversation after the screening.
I think it would be fair to say that 80+% of those present agreed with the thesis of the film.
It will be shown at the Charles later this month. And all over the country.