Art of the Steal

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Given the loveliness of the paintings on display here—masterworks by Monet, Czanne and Picasso—you won’t believe how feisty and crude Don Argott’s documentary gets. The location is the City of Brotherly Love, or to be specific, a suburb just outside of Philadelphia, where the elite Barnes Foundation has conducted its academic mission in a spirit of independence. All of that changes when crass municipal interests set their eyes on the Barnes’s exclusive collection of art, valued in the billions. Uniquely, The Art of the Steal has plenty of criticism to spread around: digs at self-serving curators, monolithic nonprofit endowments and even Albert C. Barnes himself—prophetic enough to see the brilliance of his favorite French talents but naive enough to leave his collection in the hands of a financially unstable trust. A real thinker. Tuesday, Sept 29 at 9:15pm—Joshua Rothkopf

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New York Film Festival 2009

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