Art Films

White flower weeds lining the path in Spring Valley
White flower weeds lining the path in Spring Valley

As a long time one movie at a time Netflix customer I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about when they jacked up their rates to cover the Instant Play movies that weren’t part of the package when I signed on but the announcement of the two separate companies seems plain crazy. At least they didn’t bring Meg Whitman on board.

On Tuesday we watched the Alice Neel movie from our Instant Queue. She is one my favorite painters so all they had to do was fill the screen with her paintings and I was happy. The movie was made by her grandson and he tried to come to terms with how Alice put her painting in front of family as if it follows that great artists should also have stellar parenting skills. Alice put her all into her work and her paintings testify to this. She was mostly ignored by the art world until well into her seventies. The story of how her sensational paintings could ever have been overlooked would have made a better movie.

The same art world embraced Mark Kostabi, the subject of Wednesday night’s movie, “Con Artist.” This one came in the mail in a red envelope. Kostabi did some really cute little line drawings early on and then decided to stop getting his hands dirty. He out flanked Warhol and hired a staff to not only churn out the work but come up with the concepts, mostly ugly, noisy paintings. They were snapped up as fast as he could sign them. Kostabi reminded us of Bob Ament, the muckraking candidate for our town supervisor. He rubbed his fakeness in the faces of the art establishment and demand continued to soar. So this really is the movie about how the art world ignored Alice Neel and it really isn’t all that good a movie.

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