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Art Bastard | 94 mins | Documentary | Biography

"It's not what they show, it's what they don't show." – Robert Cenedella

What is art and how does it relate to society? Is its value determined by its popularity or originality? Is the goal profit or expressing one's personal vision? These are some of the questions raised as we follow fiercely independent New York artist Robert Cenedella in his artistic journey through decades of struggling for creative expression. A student, protégé and friend of German artist George Grosz, Cenedella is now passing on the legacy of Grosz’s approach to art, in the very same room where Grosz taught. In portraying Cenedella's determination to buck the system of what's popular while critiquing that popularity in his attempt to turn the art world upside down, ART BASTARD is a funny, touching, and insightful look inside the maverick mind of a true original.


Director : Victor Kanefsky
Writer(s) : Victor Kanefsky
Star(s) : Robert Cenedella

Summary
Art Bastard
2016
"It's not what they show, it's what they don't show." – Robert Cenedella
What is art and how does it relate to society? Is its value determined by its popularity or originality? Is the goal profit or expressing one's personal vision? These are some of the questions raised as we follow fiercely independent New York artist Robert Cenedella in his artistic journey through decades of struggling for creative expression. A student, protégé and friend of German artist George Grosz, Cenedella is now passing on the legacy of Grosz’s approach to art, in the very same room where Grosz taught. In portraying Cenedella's determination to buck the system of what's popular while critiquing that popularity in his attempt to turn the art world upside down, ART BASTARD is a funny, touching, and insightful look inside the maverick mind of a true original.
94
Documentary
artbastard.com
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4266910/
Details
In a madcap art world obsessed with money, fame and hype, how does an artist driven by justice, defiance and his own singular style thrive? ART BASTARD is the mischievous tale of a rebel who never fit into today’s art world… yet has become one of its most provocative, rabble-rousing characters nevertheless. At once a portrait of the artist as a young troublemaker, an alternate history of modern art and a quintessential New York story, ART BASTARD is as energetic, humorous and unapologetically honest as the uncompromising man at its center: Robert Cenedella. Cenedella was a contemporary of Andy Warhol. But he has essentially served as the anti-Warhol. His noisy, raucous, color-splashed paintings of city scenes approach the world with a sincerity that defies the irony, frivolity and controversy-for-the-sake-of-controversy that have become the cultural currency since the 60s. Yet, as ART BASTARD reveals, Cenedella couldn’t be any more a product of these times. He was the son of a blacklisted writer, raised on crushed 50s dreams. He’s been haunted by dark family secrets that had him questioning his identity. His passionate convictions started so young they got him kicked out of high school. Even when he found solace and expression in art, he was an unabashed outsider – never a gallery darling, not pursued by museum curators, but an artist who was going to have his say regardless of who was paying attention. Even so, over time, Cenedella’s vast canvases, rife with the chaotic beauty of politics, humor, history and humanity, drew admirers from all walks of society – even from the vaunted art patrons who rejected him. In a fast-moving series of riveting interviews with family members, art critics, museum directors, New York power brokers, art students and Cenedella himself, director Victor Kanefsky candidly presents Cenedella’s personal journey – and reveals the creation of a modern art career that ignored all the modern art rules. Kanefsky follows Cenedella from his days selling cheeky “I Like Ludwig” buttons to pay his art school tuition to his apprenticeship with the exiled German satirical painter George Grosz, who inspired his merging of refined technique with blistering social critique; from his provocative 1965 “Yes Art” exhibit which became the most popular – and debated – show of the year, lambasting the crass commercialism of the blossoming Pop Art movement, to his sudden, 12-year break from painting and his fruitful return as a teacher, mentor and unbowed iconoclast of American painting. While Cenedella forthrightly questions the mechanics – and profit-making – of the art world, he has it out for no one. As he puts it: “It’s not what they show that bothers me, it’s what they don’t show.” What ART BASTARD shows, in stunning cinematic detail, are the living, breathing, storytelling canvases that Cenedella has created for six decades. Set to a rollicking soundtrack, the film not only tours Cenedella’s life. It also tours his eye-poppingly intricate, New York-centered paintings as one might travel the city – peering into every corner to uncover Cenedella’s characters, commentary and emotions. The result is a visceral art documentary that also has the sweeping impact of a feature film – at once an investigation of a man’s identity, an inquiry into what art is and who it’s for and a feisty portrait of the ups and downs of a life lived on one’s own terms. BidSlate presents a Concannon Productions film, ART BASTARD, written and directed by Victor Kanefsky and produced by Chris T. Concannon. The editor is Jim MacDonald and the director of photography is Douglas Meltzer.
Robert Cenedella
The Art of Robert Cenedella
English
Spanish
North America
United States
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