THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING
Paintings by Basquiat and Gerhard Richter sell at auction for tens of millions of dollars; a multi-story inflatable ballerina by Jeff Koons dwarfs visitors at Rockefeller Center; a solid gold toilet by Maurizio Cattelan is installed in the Guggenheim Museum for all to see and use. Today, art is spectacle, big bucks and front-page news. As a society, we have become less concerned with the aesthetic and social values of art, and more concerned with brand names and the business of it all. Many feel that art has become a pawn of the ultra rich — an exclusive investment class with perks and loopholes out of reach to the average citizen. High-end art fairs are springing up all over the world and collectors flip works at auction and squirrel away their trophies in high security warehouses. Are we in the midst of an art crisis? Can the value of art really be measured in dollars and cents? How are these values assigned and who assigns them? Does the art market have a chilling effect on our great museums and the ability of the public to engage in the art of our time? Most importantly, what does this new consumerist approach to art mean for artists themselves? THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING explores these questions and demystifies the rarefied world of contemporary art in a dynamic and entertaining way. With unprecedented access to artists, dealers, collectors and auction houses, the film takes us deep into a hidden world where nothing is what it seems. In revealing scenes and interviews, we come to understand how the art market actually works and we confront the challenges of being an artist in the current environment — where success can come at lightning speed, only to evaporate next season, and where even the most revered creators must find ways to block out the temptations of the market if they wish to remain in control of their creative process. THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING offers a complex portrait of a late capitalist society confronting itself. While holding a funhouse mirror up to our consumerist culture, the film ultimately reaffirms the transcendent power of art itself and the deep need we have for it in our lives.