Con Artist

Not Rated 1h 24m 2010


A product of post-Warhol commodity-based "business art" Mark Kostabi is one of the world's most divisive and successful living artists, selling over one thousand paintings every year, all of which were conceived of and painted by his employees. Through overt self-interest and lampooning of the art business, Kostabi catapulted to international fame via New York's explosive 1980s Post-Punk / Hip Hop-driven art scene but quickly fell from grace by the 1990's. Although a pariah in the upper-echelons of the A-list art establishment, his employee-centered studio persists and thrives today as he continues to sell paintings to mid-level collectors worldwide. In addition, Kostabi now produces and hosts a strange weekly game show called Title This wherein celebrities, art world luminaries and aging punk rockers compete for money to title "his" paintings. Constantly obsessed with money, fame and spin, Kostabi's critics claim he's either reflecting America's obsessions back on it or is simply a mess of a person. CON ARTIST follows this enigmatic, self-conscious eccentric as he pursues love interests and attempts to re-establish his reputation while preparing for a major trip to Italy to meet the Pope at an unveiling of a Kostabi statue. Although the breadth of his subterfuge and neuroses are hard to define, Kostabi's "fame is love" mentality and his attempts to take over the direction of the film itself, lead to a fascinating and humorous portrait of a truly original character. Inspired by films such as Terry Zweigof's Crumb, Barbara Koppel's Wild Man Blues, and Orson Welles' F for Fake, CON ARTIST takes an intimate look at a controversial, jaw-dropping subject who serves as an amazing lightening rod for debate about much larger issues.

Director: Michael Sladek

Genres: Comedy, Documentary

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