Sundance 2018: The Price of Everything

Artist Jeff Koons in front of one of his "Gazing Ball" paintings in The Price of Everything, directed by Nathaniel Kahn. Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films.

An official Sundance selection, The Price of Everything is a documentary that goes into the art world and examines what art is worth, be it for the collector or the artist.

The film is a fascinating documentary, directed by Nathaniel Kahn, and explores a world in which one may only hear  about in the news in passing but outside of the die-hard art collectors, that’s just about it.  Art collecting is a different world in its own right and Kahn gets viewers up close and personal with both artists and collectors.

Things I learned while watching documentary:  Jeff Koons is the most famous American artist working today, yet I never heard of him until watching the film.  Who is Koons?  For starters, he wanted to be an artist from the time he was three years old and has had artwork sold for as much as $15 million.  In the film, art collector Stefan Edlis describes Koons’ work as being lobby art.  Whether or not that’s a good thing, I don’t know.  It depends on how one views lobby art, I suppose.

Edlis also goes on to make the comment in that that collectors are also decorators.  One can suppose that this makes sense given that they have to buy art that works with their furniture, carpet, etc.  Edlis is considered to be one of America’s premiere collectors today.  Together with his wife, Gael Neeson, the two of them have donated over 40 works from their collection to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Another artist that Kahn talks with is abstract painter Larry Poons.  Poons goes into a dialogue in talking about how art is not like sports and goes on to talk about batting averages.  It’s one of those things where people need to watch it to understand the complete context. Poons also mentions how he always wanted to be an artist but one doesn’t get to pick who their parents are.

Even for the person who has only a vague interest in art, The Price of Everything will take one into a whole new world.  The documentary will introduce viewers to artists and other people that they’ve likely never heard of before unless one is art-obsessed.

An official selection of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, The Price of Everything competed in the U.S. Documentary Competition. HBO acquired the U.S. television rights and will screen the film in select theatrical markets prior to the television airing.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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