An art heist like no other unfolds in this documentary that plays like a whodunit. The subject is not stolen paintings but a 1964 scheme by U.S. government officials in league with powerful gallery owner Leo Castelli and curator Alan Solomon to hijack the Grand Prize of the venerable Venice Biennale, considered the Olympics of the art world, and assure that it is awarded to an American for the first time ever. The favored artist, Robert Rauschenberg, known for “combine” paintings incorporating found objects and junk from the streets, is oblivious to the daring plot. Director Amei deftly sets the global scene – the Cold War; the Pop Art Movement; societal turmoil in the U.S.; and the cultural ambitions of the JFK administration. Amid the manipulation and the international controversy, the epicenter of the art world is about to shift from Paris to New York.
“Maneuvers that could have come from a Hollywood thriller…skullduggery, but no smoking gun.”—David D’Darcy, The Art Newspaper
Director Amei Wallach and Dr. Philip Rylands, President and CEO of The Society of the Four Arts will be present for audience discussion.