In a recent NY Times feature, Ruth La Ferla talks to the curator of a new art exhibition seen by millions of Americans: Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. The curator, Fanny Pereire (an “art consultant” according to IMDb), selected all the artworks hung on the film’s Financial District interiors—many lent by prestigious Chelsea galleries—capping a recent trend towards ostentatiously tasteful set-dressing to signify rich characters’ more pedigreed deployments of wealth. Some films with especially rich art collections come to mind…
- “My taste is more expensive than yours.”
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps: Gordon Gekko’s (Michael Douglas) new offices include works by the likes of Antony Gormley, Joan Miró, while really villainous baddie Joan Miró (Josh Brolin, pictured with some art) owns pieces by Goya and Richard Prince. The Times piece points out that Oliver Stone’s personal collection includes a Jean-Michel Basquiat, who happens to have been the star of an early entry in the film-as-moving-gallery subgenre…
- “One day this piece of scrapped alluminum siding will be worth millions.”
Downtown 81: Also known as the New York Beat Movie, this bit of shoestring pseudo-documentary magical realism features not only Basquiat, as himself (pictured), doing graffiti and strolling down demolished East Village blocks with a canvas tucked under his arm, but also Maripol, Lee Quinones and heroically uncompromising life artist John Lurie.
Boogie-Woogie: As far as high-profile art movie collection curators go, they don’t get much more prestigious than this indie farce’s impressive assemblage of Modern and contemporary works hand-picked by one Damien Hirst, a middle-aged British artist you may have heard of before. The YBA leader made a point of including his own spin paintings (and a neon piece by cohort Tracey Emin, pictured), though the real attraction here is a prized Piet Mondrian painting, the first in the landmark series of works that gives the film its title.
Kick-Ass: As I mentioned at the time, the sleazy mob villain in Matthew Vaughn’s violent comic nerd fantasy film has a Midtown penthouse full of expensive art, here used to connote obscene wealth rather than good taste. In addition to some unidentifiable, vaguely Warholian prints of guns and a neon sculpture that could be a Nauman, there is very clearly a famous Marc Quinn blood sculpture titled “Self” right outside the elevator in Frank D’Amico’s (Mark Strong) apartment, as you can kind of blurrily see in the image above.
- “Come here, Koons puppy, I’ve got a juicy Koons rabbit for you…”
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: Probably the most enjoyable parts of this awful sequel (in addition to scenes with Amy Adams) were those in which the art collection of the National Gallery came to life, including a Degas ballerina, Rodin’s “Thinker” (pictured) and a Koons balloon puppy.
Honorable mentions: (Untitled) has a Donald Judd, and Double Jeopardy has a Kandinsky.
Other movies with impressive art collections? Comments, please!
Children of Men