Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

The Great Contemporary Art Bubble

Year: 2009
Language: English
Run Time: 95 minutes

The Great Contemporary Art Bubble

Who put the con in contemporary art? Ben Lewis wants to know. A British art critic, TV presenter, investigative reporter, and snappy dresser, Lewis is a more polite, contemporary-art-world version of Michael Moore. Aghast that the average rise in contemporary art values between 2003 and 2008 was 800%, Lewis spent a year investigating the market. At its peak, buyers were paying $19.3 million for a Damien Hirst "pill cabinet," $23.6 million for a Jeff Koons shiny hanging heart, and $86 million for a Francis Bacon. In his hilarious and eye-opening documentary, Lewis strives to find out why. Shuttling between London, New York, Basel, and Hong Kong, he explores the reasons for THE GREAT CONTEMPORARY ART BUBBLE through interviews with billionaire collectors, auctioneers, gallery owners, and market analysts. En route, he uncovers a complicated world of deals, collusion, and secrecy. As usual, the last word belongs to Ben: "In years to come these works will be seen as the ultimate symbols of the economic fairyland we have been living through, an era in which the world lost touch with its sense of value. These were not masterpieces; they were the icons of idiocy." – B.B.

CIFF34 Screenings

Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, and art critic. He is best known for his series about contemporary artists, "Art Safari."

"The King of Communism: The Pomp & Pageantry of Nicolae Ceausescu" (2002), "Baader-Meinhof: In Love with Terror" (2002), "Blowing Up Paradise" (2005), "Hammer & Tickle" (2006), THE GREAT CONTEMPORARY ART BUBBLE (2009)

Fiona O'Doherty

Frank-Peter Lehmann

Simon Barker

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