Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Writer: Bernadine Colish, Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Actors: Peggy Guggenheim, Marina Abramovic
‘Embracing the avant garde, and loving it
Peggy Guggenheim was a unique, vivid presence in the art world, and in this entertaining documentary she is never less than fascinating. Yet there are questions that linger about the way she’s portrayed within the film and by history. Art Addict depicts an important collector and patron who was both insider and outsider, someone whose desires and appetites are talked about as much as – if not more than – her taste and critical judgment.
Director Lisa Immordino Vreeland? has a trump card that helps bring Guggenheim close to us. When she acquired the rights to an authorised biography published after Guggenheim’s death in 1979, she managed to track down a key piece of material that the author, Jacqueline Bogard Weld, thought she had lost: audio tapes of her interviews. These Q & A sessions provide an intriguing and sometimes frustrating perspective on the woman at the centre of the film.
Guggenheim’s delivery is clipped and dry, her tone matter-of-fact. In the extracts we hear, she can be vague – far too often people and art works are nothing more than “wonderful” – but she’s also frank and direct on things that matter to her. She’s often self-deprecating, but never harsh about others.
Art Addict includes archival audio material from other sources, as well as contemporary interviews with people who knew Guggenheim, or artists and scholars who have things to say about her significance. There are clearly different perspectives on her connoisseurship, her taste, her aesthetic judgment, and there are varying accounts of the kind of person she was.
She had a certain amount of privilege and wealth, but she didn’t exercise it in an arbitrary fashion; she listened and learned, and she also took risks. Marcel Duchamp? was an important guide and adviser, but she’s given credit for early support and patronage of Jackson Pollock.
Guggenheim was candid about her interest in sex. She wrote a memoir that included details about the artists she had sexual relationships with (she concealed some identities the first time it was published, but gave real names in the reprint). There’s a sense in this documentary that her candour might have worked against her; her personal life was judged more severely than it would have been if she had been a man, and her reputation in art history has often been defined along similar lines. And the term “art addict’, emphasising compulsion rather than connoisseurship, is her own term.
On the whole, the male interview subjects interviewed here are more dismissive of Guggenheim, on everything from her looks to her sexual avidity to her critical acumen. The women who speak are more appreciative of her generosity, her straightforwardness, her singularity, her significance.’
DVDRip | MKV | 720 x 576 | AVC @ 1116 Kbps | 91 min | 1.06 Gb
Audio: English AC3 5.1 @ 448 Kbps #2 AAC 2.0 @ 96 Kbps | Subs: None
Genre: Documentary, Biography, History | USA