Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by Jessica Bryce Young & r & & r & Who Gets To Call It Art? & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & hile a documentary about a curator seems dull, everyone loves a groupie story (witness the success of Almost Famous). In Henry Geldzahler, legendary 1960s curator and art-world gadfly, director Peter Rosen has found the ultimate art groupie, but he lets the rock stars do most of the talking in Who Gets To Call It Art? (After all, his subject died in 1994.) Frank Stella, Bob Rauschenberg, David Hockney, Francesco Clemente and many more reminisce digressively in this aimless document of a life spent cheerleading others. It's not for scholars -- but the luscious tumble of images will exhilarate even a casual modern-art fan.


Geldzahler was an uptown boy, the Harvard-and-Yale-educated son of a Belgian diamond merchant. An eye for beauty and the ability to turn a profit ran in his family. For his bar mitzvah, he was given $1,000; a year later, he spent $600 of it on a Stella painting. A canny investor as well as a connoisseur of art, Geldzahler was the perfect missionary for Pop Art.


He ingratiated himself with the artists by being a non-threatening presence -- not a competitor, but an emissary to the moneyed world of the collectors, and a genuine fan. His position as curator of 20th-century American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art culminated in the notorious "New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970" exhibition.


"Whatever resonance art of the late 20th century has, it owes to Henry," declares Stella at the beginning of the film. The idea of treating these banal objects and minimal canvases as "real art" was distasteful to fusty Rembrandt idolaters. Pop Art shattered the fairy tale of the painter expressing his tortured soul; in its place were Claes Oldenburg's limp fabric sculptures of toothpaste tubes and Roy Lichtenstein's blown-up comic strip panels. But Henry bridged the gap with his enthusiasm and born-salesman's shrewdness, and a new generation of art stars emerged.


This is a talky film, which is why it's best enjoyed in a semi-reclined position. Excellent soundtrack choices from the Monks, Carla Bley, John Cage, Eric Dolphy, the Velvet Underground and more underscore what is, per the Palm Pictures aesthetic, top-notch moving wallpaper. Find the biggest, loudest TV/DVD player/stereo setup you can, have a few drinks, turn off the lights and let it wash over you.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Reunited We Stand
  • Reunited We Stand

    With major provisions of Trump's executive order put on temporary hold, 11 Iraqi refugees reunite with their families in Spokane
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Working Blue
  • Working Blue

    Spokane police officer under fire for profanity; plus, Tomi Lahren — and her opinions — are coming to town
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • 'Cautiously Optimistic'
  • 'Cautiously Optimistic'

    Spokane Public Schools has seen improvement since committing to reducing suspensions, but the hardest part is yet to come
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • The Syrian
  • The Syrian

    One family from Syria has found welcoming arms in Spokane, and many others may follow
    • Sep 24, 2015
  • A Loner's Legacy
  • A Loner's Legacy

    What a homeless veteran in Coeur d'Alene left behind after his sudden death
    • Oct 22, 2015

Comments


Comments are closed.

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Ric Gendron: Salish Stories

Ric Gendron: Salish Stories @ Spokane Art School

Mondays-Fridays, 5-9 p.m. Continues through March 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • We Have Not Yet Begun to Fight

    Why we're filling the streets to protest Trump's inhumane, dangerous policies
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Obscene Gestures

    Spokane political party leaders hope to harness post-election passion into civil discourse. But so far, there's only been more strife
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Comment


do something


Readers also liked…

  • The Last Stand
  • The Last Stand

    Riverfront Park's sparsely attended IMAX Theatre remains on the chopping block, but could its biggest fan save it?
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation