A new HBO documentary on the art world pulls together an interesting array of characters for interviews on the value of art: gallery owner Mary Boone, Chicago philanthropist Stefan Edlis, auction house players such as Amy Cappellazzo, and artists like Gerhard Richter, Jeff Koons, Njideka Akunyily Crosby, and others.
Every so often, when you hear that a painting by Picasso just sold at auction for a record $179 million, or that a Pollock or a Basquiat or a Jeff Koons now routinely fetch prices worthy of a Silicon Valley start-up, it’s easy to wonder what, exactly, is going on. Is this a true expression of the art’s value? Or is it the symptom of some skyrocketing hothouse bubble that has decadently transformed art into gold?
“The Price of Everything,” Nathaniel Kahn’s brilliant and captivating documentary about how the art world got converted into a money market, is shrewd enough to know that the answer is both.