Pretty much the only uninspired approach to a documentary about art and money would be to make an entire film pitting the justifications of market apologists on one side against the stale clichés of titular romantics on the other. Unfortunately, this is precisely the movie that Mr. Kahn has made. Read more

In Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, there is a poignant exchange between the nameless master of the novel’s title, and the everyman-poet Ivan Bezdomny:

“What, don't you like my poetry?” asked Ivan with some curiosity.
“I hate it.”
“Which poems have you read?”
“I haven’t read any of your poems!” the visitor anxiously exclaimed.
“Then how can you say that?”
“What?” his guest responded. “As if I haven’t read any other poems? Is it so unexpected? But alright, I'm prepared to take it on faith. You tell me. Is your poetry any good?”
“Monstrous!” Ivan suddenly said, boldly and earnestly.
“Don't write any more!” the visitor implored. Read more

It is characteristic of our cultural moment that sincerity often sits uneasy in our stomachs. We’ve heard all the lines before. We know them from a million b-list movies we can’t quite recall. But by setting up the difficult contrast between explicit homoeroticism and stark religious iconography mediated by a deep and human tenderness, Erving keeps our minds just a little too busy to put up our cynical defenses. Read more