Coming to theatres today, Friday, June 3: ART BASTARD
Victor Kanefsky’s portrait of an unheralded artist had its premiere at the Orlando Film Festival last year. Other fest screenings have included Newport Beach, Manchester, and Julien Dubuque.
The titular subject, Robert Cenedella, accidentally learned at a young age that his mother’s husband wasn’t his actual father, but that alone doesn’t explain the wry title of Kanefsky’s film. Early in his career, the artist – now in his seventies – positioned himself as an outspoken rebel to the art world establishment, and disdained both Abstract Expressionism and Pop. Unsurprisingly, swimming against the zeitgeist, Cendella went overlooked – the worst thing that can happen to an artist with a lot to say, who thought of himself as the Anti-Warhol. Kanefsky offers this film as a corrective, but at times it feels more like a cross between a hagiography and an extended show-and-tell session. With the frustrated artist leading the charge through an appreciation of his body of work while railing against the mediocrity of the art world, he risks growing tiresome – which is a shame, because the art on display here is not without interest and humor, suggesting that he does merit reconsideration.