“I prefer to see it in a museum, not in a private collection,” Richter tells Kahn, in his slow, soft-spoken English.
Even Richter’s new works that are sold on the primary market are too expensive, in his opinion. Pointing at a particular work on the wall at Marian Goodman, Richter says that the price is too high.
“It’s not good when this is the value of a house, it’s not fair,” Richter says. “I like it, but it’s not a house.”
Kahn then tells Cappellazzo about Richter’s sentiment, and she says, “Museums? Ugh! I mean, museums are great, we love them, but they’re also…I mean, if they have too many, they’ll never come upstairs and see the light of day. So then it’s like a cemetery—why do you want your things in a cemetery? They’re buried underground somewhere. So, museums, for him—that’s just a very socialist democratic way, like, of avoiding having to deal with, like, rich people who want them.”
The documentary does not explicitly take sides with Richter or Cappellazzo, de Pury or Saltz, Koons or Nemerov. Perhaps the only person close to a sympathetic figure is
, an artist once shown by dealer Leo Castelli, and a former friend of
, who now makes art in upstate New York, wholly detached from the marketplace.
“[People] think I’m dead,” Poons says to Kahn, without a hint of malice.
As the film ends, it turns out that Dennis Yares, the director of New York’s Yares Art
, wants to give Poons a show. This becomes the one clear storyline a viewer can unequivocally root for. It’s also when the context from which the title comes proves helpful in understanding the film: It’s a line from the 1892 Oscar Wilde play Lady Windermere’s Fan
. Lord Darlington is asked to define a cynic; he says a cynic is “a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”