Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

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By: Addison Wylie

Lisa Immordino Vreeland continues to merge filmmaking with her love for fashion in Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict after debuting on the film scene with Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel in 2012.

A newfound artifact serves as bedrock in Vreeland’s doc as the audience listens to the last interview given by world renowned art collector Peggy Guggenheim.  The interview remains conversational between her and biographer Jacqueline Bogard Weld, which allows Guggenheim comfort when talking about the tragedy in her life that ultimately developed her thick skin for adulthood.

The filmmaker starts the audience at Peggy’s eclectic family tree.  Here, we quickly get in touch with the two extremes she was constantly being caught up in – high class and eccentricity.  She faced scrutiny from others making assumptions based on her gender, her black sheep status, her knowledge for art, and her family’s wealth.  However, the world of art delighted her, and with an open mind, she understood many artistic movements and gained respect amongst creative elites.  She became close with artists like Robert Motherwell and Marcel Duchamp, while discovering and honing in Jackson Pollock.  She also pursued romances with a number of creators as well.  Guggenheim’s integrity remained the same though: art and its personal process was more of a priority over money or fame.  That said, Peggy loved fame.

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict is a documentary you enjoy watching because the filmmaker is educating so well.  Vreeland’s research and presentation is informative while also maintaining a visual flash that resembles an old-fashioned catalogue.  The lost interview is integrated nicely between modern day interviews with art experts and the occasional cameo.  Actor Robert De Niro makes a brief appearance to talk about his opinion about Guggenheim – someone he remembers as an admirer of his parents’ painted work.

Lisa Immordino Vreeland covers a lot of ground and is able to summarize Guggenheim’s emotional complex and accomplishments without cutting corners.  The filmmaker encompasses too much, however, when she tires to cover Guggenheim’s sex life and multiple lovers under one large umbrella of sexuality, but Vreeland is committed to giving movie goers an unrestrained and truthful look into Guggenheim’s loyal generosity towards her friends and her passions.

If you’re an art history buff, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict is required viewing.  But, really, this great film is for everyone.

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