Here at SUNY New Paltz, we are no strangers to theatrical productions, exhibitions in both the fine and musical arts, as well as film screenings. The good old lecture center, especially, is a usual place to host these free film screenings open to students and the public alike.
On Thursday, Feb. 28, the art history department, along with the student-run “Art History Association,” graciously hosted a screening of the movie “Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World,” directed by Barry Avrich. The Art History Association hosts similar events throughout the semester.
As Lecture Center 104 filled up with an audience of all ages, from eager students, some faculty, to enthusiastic community members, the room was buzzing with excitement about what was to come. Some wondered what the title of the film meant, while others exchanged a few word-of-mouth rumblings that they had heard about the film already.
The film itself, a documentary from 2017, is an expository discussion on the inner workings of the art world, focusing on the business aspect of it. Set up in an interview style for a majority of the movie, people included were big figures in art dealing, art collecting and even major artists including Damien Hirst and Marina Abramovic. With this cast list, the film was all the more interesting and relatable to the audience today since it speaks on the contemporary art scene, as opposed to an older era.
The accessibility of the film represented how well it was enjoyed. To see major art pieces that we recognized and may even learn about in art history classes made it more engaging and feel less like an informational film.
“The movie was actually really good,” said first-year graphic design major Dylan Jacobs. “I expected it to be really informative, but I was surprised by how entertaining it turned out to be. It was well made.”
Informative and insightful, it showcased just how commercialized the entire industry of fine art is. It felt like watching an expose on the Desperate Art Dealers of the World. As stated at the start of the film by Jaclynne J. Kerner, Associate Professor and Chair of the art history department, “Blurred Lines” looks at the “relationship between art, money, and meaning.”
“My main thought on the movie was that it was kind of important to show because everyone is aware of the screwed up stuff that goes on in the [art] market, but they don’t know exactly what screwed up stuff and this documentary shined a light on that,” Jacobs said. “But it did mention that it doesn’t affect the majority of people, only the rich, fine art audience.”
“My other point is that they were kind of one sided,” Jacobs said. “They don’t show how that market helps people who make art, or how they make the global community more aware of the art that’s going on right now.”
When asked how he heard about the event, Jacobs said it was through a professor. “This was my first time going to a film screening at SUNY New Paltz, but I would totally go again,” Jacobs said.
“Blurred Lines,” was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017. It is also available for streaming on Netflix for those that could not make the screening.
The Art History Association meets on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in the Smiley Art Building, in room 106.