the price of everything
DIRECTOR: nathaniel kahn (my architect)
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn delves into the contemporary art world, where everything can be bought and sold.
As a kid other than spending time with them one of the joys of going to my grandparents place was that they had SKY Television. Old TV shows, countless movies, and sport all at our fingertips. But one of the things I loved the most were the documentaries; encyclopaedias come to life with new and fascinating subjects to discover. And The Price of Everything gives us access to a colourful, chaotic, and utterly intriguing world.
The Price of Everything explores the labyrinth of the contemporary art world and examines the role of art and artistic passion in today’s money-driven, 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.
The Price of Everything ultimately is a presentation of a world of contradiction which is mainly found between the artist and the cashed up collector. The artist: expressive, free from societal restraint, processing their place in the world through their chosen art form and then the collector: cashed up, controlling access to the art, and sometimes earning more for the art work reselling it than the artist ever did.
Its a truly intriguing tussle as you see a world that teeters between the artist and the collector. There are artists who feed the system of wealth and control, who create art not as an expression of the inner being or as a way of processing the world but as a way to line their pockets.
But there are also artists who rile against the system, who won't create 'to order' but hold the purity of the process close to them. And you can't help but end up loving these rebels.
The tussle between artist and the big bucks of the collectors is beautifully captured in The Price of Everything.