Before the death of renowned New York City gallery owner Allan Stone, his daughter Olympia set out to explore the man’s obsessive relationship to art, which partly manifested itself in a massive collection of fetishistic works that filled her childhood home. Olympia’s ambition, though, isn’t only to glean some sort of psychological rationale for her father’s compulsion for collecting but to also illuminate Stone’s integral relationship to the art world since the 1950s. Because Stone never feels the need to psychoanalyze his passion, it is up to Olympia to do so herself, by and large through narration punctuated with questions that suggest a study-guide approach to life learning (she asks at one point, “How did Dad get into the art business anyway?”). Olympia wonders if the “visual explosion” inside her father’s home was a result of passion or pathology, but never really gets at anything profound about the man’s supposed mania. Though the film is mostly interesting as a tour of the cliquey art world and Stone’s relationship to it, The Collector still feels redundant of documentaries like Who Gets to Call It Art? that have been all the rage in the past few years. As a biographical sketch it lacks for a certain intimacy, though this is largely the fault of Olympia’s singularly dispassionate and irritating narration, which seems pitched as if to appeal to Sesame Street‘s core demographic.
- 62 min
- Olympia Stone
- Allan Stone, Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Estes, Michael Kimmelman, Ivan Karp
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: