Skip to main content

Rashid Johnson in Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World.

Mark Twain used to advise to buy land because they weren't making it any more. When it comes to contemporary art, the thinking seems to be quite different: Buy it – they're making it by the ton. With his snazzy documentary Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World, Canadian filmmaker Barry Avrich examines the hazy, conflicting values placed on the things that go into modern museums, hip galleries and the homes of deep-pocketed collectors. A dozen or more talking heads – it's quite the quote-fest, with artists and aficionados opining away – hash out the current commodification and crazed escalation of prices. It's a slick, quick critique and primer, sporting a cool soundtrack and agile editing, with movies such as Play It Again, Sam and Midnight in Paris used to lampoon art-universe snobs and wannabes. The film's brisk pace is a bit wearing once the one-hour mark is passed, but the high energy and intelligence is quite charismatic over all. About the future and durability of art being made and sold today, we are told that "history is ruthless with things it doesn't need." Avrich's Blurred Lines, on the other hand, will stand the test of time.