David and Goliath has become a cliche’ representation of the underdog and the ability to overcome overwhelming odds to be victorious.
While this is an enchanting and romantic picture, in everyday life it is a rare occurrence. There is a different analogy used when the big and powerful crush the underdog beneath their feet without remorse or consideration; it’s called a tragedy. The Art of the Steal documents the tragedy of the Barnes Foundation, one of the most prized personal collections of art on the planet.
This documentary chronicles the amazing history of the Barnes Foundation from it’s inception to it’s theft by the city of Philadelphia. The story pits art against politics and most certainly carries with it a very sincere agenda and sympathy for the side of the art. While this can be a flaw in many documentaries, The Art of the Steal appears to be able to offer a clear and understandable motive for both sides. Upon seeing these motives, however, any person that any kind of art appeals to finds themselves appalled to the point of tears to see what money and power can make people do.
This documentary is filmed beautifully and is very much fun to watch. The Art of the Steal is insightful, thought-provoking, and infuriating, which are all marks of a great documentary.