Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Art of the Steal, the Pull of the Checkbook

The Art of the Steal gets a lot of attention today in The Inquirer: a piece by me, one by art critic Ed Sozanski, and responses by the Barnes and foes of the move to Center City.

The Art of the Steal, the Pull of the Checkbook

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The Art of the Steal gets a lot of attention today in The Inquirer: a piece by me, one by art critic Ed Sozanski, and responses by the Barnes and foes of the move to Center City.

The Washington Post reveals that the film's executive producer offered to pay people to speak in the film. This, as many know, is an ethical no-no.

From the Post story:

"There was some errant e-mail traffic that indicated they were prepared to pay for disgruntled employees to talk," [Pew president Rebecca] Rimel says. Argott says the likely e-mail in question was from Feinberg, the film's executive producer.

"That didn't come from us. That came from Lenny, who was kind of an outsider, who didn't really understand the way documentary works," Argott says. There was never any intention on the filmmaker's part to pay for interviews, he says. Rimel declined to share the e-mail.

No one is saying that anyone who ended up in the film was paid. But "Lenny" is more than an outsider; he's the film's executive producer, the bankroller - a role that typically comes with final say on content. The fact that he was prepared to pay anyone to participate poses a serious credibility problem.

It's a shame. Opponents of the Barnes' move to Center City had a great card to play - a moral authority they could have parlayed into public support for their position.

 

Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

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