See the First Trailer for ‘The Price of Everything,’ HBO’s New Documentary About the High-Flying Art Market

“There’s a lot of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Artist Jeff Koons in front of one of his "Gazing Ball" paintings in The Price of Everything (2018). Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films.

“Of course it’s a bubble,” says curator Paul Schimmel in the new trailer for The Price of Everything, a documentary about the art market coming from HBO this fall. “Bubbles make beautiful things. Just try to keep it floating; don’t burst it.”

The sustainability of art as we know it is one of the central tenets of the film, which will debut in select theaters October 19 and on HBO on November 12. It explores money’s influence on contemporary culture and asks whether we’re currently in the midst of an “art crisis.” To do that, the film holds a “mirror up to our values and our times—where everything can be bought and sold.

In one scene from the trailer, art world megastar Gerhard Richter looks at one of his own paintings—a small, scraped canvas—and says sheepishly, “This is the value of a house. I like it, but it’s not a house.”

The trailer packs in an impressive list of cameos, including artists George Condo, Larry Poons, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby; auction house bigwigs like Simon De Pury and Amy Cappellazzo; and high-profile collectors Holly Peterson, Inga Rubenstein, and Stefan Edlis. (The latter, quoting Oscar Wilde, delivers the aphoristic line that inspired the film’s title: “There’s a lot of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”) It also features art critic Jerry Saltz, who, in typical Saltzian fashion, has some very quotable opinions to proffer: “99% of artists don’t have money,” he says. “They have to make an enemy of envy, or it will eat them alive.”

The poster for The Price of Everything (2018). Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films.

The full film boasts even more notable names, including Jeff Koons, Gavin Brown, and Mary Boone, to name a few. (The full list of interviewees can be found here.)

The Price of Everything was directed by Nathaniel Kahn, son of architect Louis Kahn. The younger Kahn already has an impressive resume so far, with a handful of films under his belt, including two that were nominated for Oscars: My Architect (2003), about his father; and Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story (2006), about a famed concert pianist whose life and career plummeted after a small cut to his thumb.

His new film debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where its distribution rights were purchased by HBO’s documentary arm.

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