The Art of the Steal
Don Argott’s documentary was easily one of my favourite films at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The story unfolds like a murder mystery complete with a full list of suspects. Argott details, step by step, how money rules the bottom line of everything. Profit is the catalyst that forced many Philadelphian politicians, and corporations, to team up in order to orchestrate, what Argott views as, the greatest heist in recent year.
The Art of the Steal questions what say do any of us really have in our lives? If something as strong as a person’s last Will and Testament can be violated at all levels, what hope is there for any of us? The most startling aspect of this documentary is how matter-of-fact some people, such as the Governor and the Attorney General, are when discussion how they blackmailed institutions, such as Lincon University, to give up their shares of the Barnes Foundation. The chilling thing about the revelation is the fact that both men act like it was just business as usual.
The stealing of the Barnes collection was as epic as major corporate mergers. Many of the players involved not only hide key information from the public, but also used public money to commit the crime. It is truly fascinating to see how the Barnes’ collection has ended up becoming everything Barnes objected to when he was alive. The Art of the Steal will make you look at art, politics, education, and the law in a whole new light. Keep an eye out for this in your local theatres and/or video stores. It is one of the year’s best films.