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The Price of Everything

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

USA

2018

1h38

Nathaniel Kahn

Director

Oliver Barker, Ed Dolman, Larry Poons, Mary Boone

Stars

Documentary

Genre

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Exploring the labyrinth of the contemporary art world, The Price of Everything examines the role of art and artistic passion in today’s consumer-based society. Featuring collectors, dealers, auctioneers and a rich range of artists, from current market darlings Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, to one-time art star Larry Poons, the film exposes deep contradictions as it holds a mirror up to contemporary values and times, coaxing out the dynamics at play in pricing the priceless.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

Los Angeles Times by

Kahn is a quiet filmmaker, and he gently prods his sources to go beyond the typical art world hyperbole of “gorgeous” and “wonderful.” And in a cool, clear-eyed way, he reveals how the $400-million sausage is made, how capitalism has turned art from idea into inventory.
70

The New York Times by A.O. Scott

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.
91

The A.V. Club by Allison Shoemaker

The master stroke of The Price Of Everything is that it asks the viewer, in Cappellazzo’s words, to see the intricacies of the art world and the way those two seemingly oppositional forces — the financial side and the creative side — are inextricably intertwined.
75

Philadelphia Daily News by Gary Thompson

Kahn surveys artists, dealers, auctioneers, and gallery operators to provide a synopsis of the New York art world, and is at its most interesting when profiling artists who represent differing attitudes toward the way money affects their work.
70

The Hollywood Reporter by John DeFore

More conversational than journalistic in spirit, it avoids hard statistics (and the reasons those stats can be hard to come by) in favor of well-informed impressions and anecdotes. Though not the first doc to note the insanity surrounding this subject, it is easily accessible to non-insiders and holds interest even for those who follow art closely.
63

Boston Globe by Mark Feeney

The documentary has its memorable moments. Period footage of the now-legendary 1973 auction of contemporary art by the collector Robert Scull is riveting.
90

Variety by Owen Gleiberman

The Price of Everything exalts in the spirt of art over commerce, yet what’s thrilling about the film — and what echoes in your mind after it’s over — is that it captures all the ways those two forces can’t be separated.
75

Movie Nation by Roger Moore

Nathaniel Kahn’s collected interviews with artists, hype-driven dealers, well-heeled collectors and art historians and visits to Sotheby’s and the Frieze Art Fair and elsewhere give us the scale of the business, the birth of competitive modern art collecting and a sense of the recent history of this winner-take-all playground of the richest of the rich.
63

RogerEbert.com by Tomris Laffly

Unlike Kahn’s acclaimed and much tidier 2003 documentary “My Architect,” The Price of Everything has a meandering nature and explores one too many avenues in building a thesis, while losing the viewer in the midst at times.

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