Review / ‘Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict’ (PG) ***

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peggy-guggenheimSHORTLY before dying in 1979, Peggy Guggenheim gave an audio-taped interview to biographer Jacqueline Bograd Weld. The tape remained hidden until recently.

Making this film, director Lisa Immordino Vreeland and co-producer Bernadine Colish used it extensively to flesh out archival footage interspersed with images of artworks and interviews with pundits.

“Art Addict” runs for 96 minutes including a very long set of closing credits and acknowledgements. It’s entertaining. It’s informative. But the enormous dimensions of its themes subject it ultimately to the burden of information overload.

Born in 1898 into a privileged yet eccentric family, losing her father on the Titanic, Peggy developed a strong desire to escape its conservative milieu. In her later years, she drew crowds around her. No beauty, her lovers ranged from famous men to beautiful young tradesmen converting her Venice palazzo into her first gallery. Her adult life endured grievous family calamities.

The name Guggenheim is now well-known worldwide. She was in the right place at the right time to buy early works of artists cheaply because they had not yet found fame. The film offers quick grabs of many of them. How we wish they might have lingered for us to savour more deeply. But no, “Art Addict” is about Peggy more than the artworks she owned or the people who made them.

At Palace Electric

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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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