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Posts Tagged ‘“Peggy Guggeheim: Art Addict”’

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“PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT” My rating: B (Opens Jan. 22 at the Tivoli)

96 minutes | No MPAA rating)

She never wielded a brush or a hammer and chisel, yet Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979) was one of the most important art figures of the 20th century.

Born into a fabulously wealthy family — although her fortune was a mere pittance compared to that of most of her relatives — Guggenheim grew up in an environment awash with dysfunctional eccentricity. She seems to have failed in most of the so-called normal aspects of life (notably marriage and motherhood) but she had something few others possessed: a eye for recognizing great outsider art before anyone else did and the drive to push that art into the mainstream.

Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s “Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict” is the first full-length documentary devoted to this fascinating woman who was instrumental in the success of artists like Jackson Pollack, Wassily Kandinski, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Mark Rothko, Constantin Brancusi and many others.

The film benefits greatly from its reliance on a series of audiotaped interviews Guggenheim submitted to shortly before her death. Never before released to the public, these tapes allow her to more or less narrate her own life story.

She came from a clan of Jewish immigrants who grew from peddling to banking, amassing huge fortunes. Peggy’s father died on the Titanic. Her uncle would become the namesake for NYC’s landmark Guggenheim Museum. Murder, madness and tragic death seemed to stalk the family.

 

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