'Blurred Lines' premieres April 23 at the Tribeca Film Festival


In the rarefied universes of art auction houses such as Christies and Sotheby’s, there exists a practice known as “chandelier bidding.” It has nothing to do with the sale of fancy light fixtures — but the rather adjacent-to-unethical exercise of the auctioneer raising the price on an item even though no bids have been made. The effect, of course, is to create a greater demand. And in an effort to deceive people in the room, often the auctioneer might point to the ceiling, hence the chandelier nickname.

Director Barry Avrich’s new documentary Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World goes deeply into all this weirdness and intrigue, as you can see from the exclusive clip above. The film’s synopsis says that it “lifts the curtain on the provocative contemporary art scene, a glamorous and cutthroat game of genius versus commerce.” The artists, curators, gallerists interviewed on camera include Marina Abramovic, Julian Schnabel, Michael Ovitz, and experts from the Museum of Modern Art and Art Basel.

Blurred Lines premieres April 23 at the Tribeca Film Festival. Check out the fest’s website for more details.