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Who Gets to Call It Art? (2006)

John Chamberlain , Ivan Karp , Peter Rosen  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Chamberlain, Ivan Karp, George Lois, Frank Stella, Larry Poons
  • Directors: Peter Rosen
  • Producers: Peter Rosen, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Cathy Price, Karl Katz, Sara Lukinson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: May 23, 2006
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EQ5V9A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,118 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Who Gets to Call It Art?" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Additional extended artist interviews
  • Claes Oldenburg's Film Happening: "Fotodeath"
  • Q&A with Peter Rosen, James Rosenquist and Larry Poons
  • Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Who Gets to Call it Art? is a wild ride through the fascinating 1960s New York art world, seen through the eyes of first "contemporary art" curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Henry Geldzahler. Never-before-seen footage of artists including Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein as well as exclusive interviews with artists Frank Stella, David Hockney, and James Rosenquist provide a vibrant and entertaining look at ten amazing years when American artists challenged everything and forever changed the world of art.


(A) lively, intelligent collage, richly complex and immediately accessible. -- Ronnie Sheib, Variety

Capture(s) the spirit of invention and discovery that made the '60s so exciting. -- Noel Murray, The Onion

DON'T MISS! -- Time Out NY


There is no hyperbole in stating this is one of the greatest art documentaries ever made. -- Phil Hall,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Henry Geldzahler came from a well-to-do family and always wanted to be a curator. After interning at the Whitney at 15 he fell in love with modern art. He got a degree from Yale and after a couple of years of doctoral studies at Harvard he accepted a position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was hardly known for its support of the latest directions in art.

This movie is about Geldzahler and what he did to support the pop art movement that included artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, and many others. The story is told with tapes and films of Geldzahler, as well as period and contemporary interviews with the artists concerned (whether supportive or contrary to the movement).

The culmination of the film is the famous and hugely controversial show Geldzahler put on in 1970 at the Metropolitan. "New York Painting 1940-1970". It was a blockbuster and still resonates to this day. I loved the comment about how he selected what to put in the show (because no matter how large an exhibition, so much had to be left out). Geldzahler said that he picked those works that he had seen and than left him wanting to see it again. Whatever you think about the "seriousness" or "worth" of the art, much of it is certainly beautiful and all of it is full of cheer, optimism, fun, and some downright silliness. Isn't that refreshing from being dour all the time?

Henry Geldzahler died far too young at 59 in 1994. We even get to see inside his home and the beautiful objects with which he had surrounded himself. They are stunning.

This is a fine short film to get some background about this interesting and influential patron on modern art and the artists who did all that work. It is quite charmingly done and never gets sidetracked in the side arguments.

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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influence and Art Culture September 28, 2006
A fascination with influence may draw you to this documentary of art appreciation. Henry Geldzahler was the first contemporary art curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his "New York Painting and Sculpture 1940-1970" exhibit is said to be the largest exhibit of modern art by living artists at the Met.

Through this journey into the life of Henry Geldzahler we discover the depths of the friendship between Henry and Andy Warhol and how at the height of their friendship they talked on the phone daily. It seemed they supported each other's artistic visions.

Henry Geldzahler loved to be photographed, was a natural in front of a camera and also loved to sit for portraits. David Hockney's painting of Henry sitting on a couch is shown in reality and then as the painting. These types of contrasts show reality vs. the artist's vision and perhaps explain "in a subtle way" how Henry's presence changed the world of art.

Since I had just arrived in the world in the 60s, this is all pretty much new to me and it helps to explain the rise of contemporary art in a positive way. It is likely that you will recognize very few artists featured if you are under 40 and not an art student, but this doesn't detract from the human-interest story.

Artists interviewed include: Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, David Hockney, John Chamberlain, Francesco Clemente, Mark di Suvero, Ellsworth Kelly, Larry Poons and James Rosenquist. This gives a fascinating inside view of what was happening in the art world during the 60s.

After viewing this DVD, you can't help but recognize the influence of the artists featured while visiting today's art museums.

~The Rebecca Review
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pop art April 10, 2007
By raz
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I've purchased this DVD to find out what's behind pop art who are its main protagonists and indeed who gets to call it art? The feature is made up by a series of interviews with prominent artists from the 50s and 60s who weren't so well known back then. In fact is a film about Henry Geldzahler who went to the art school with Andy Warhol and became curator at Met during the 60s, Henry introduced artists like Larry Poons, Mark Di Suvero, Andy Warhol, etc to the general public thus enlarging and challenging the established view of what's art. The movie also answered my question - pop art social effect is simply to reconcile us to a world of commodities...banalities and vulgarities which is to say in effect indistinguishable from advertising art.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Film December 25, 2006
By Cynthia
I teach contemporary art. This film utilizes clips and quotes from other films about highly significant artists working from the late 50s forward. It is time for the general public to see Henry Geldzahler as the catalyst and creative coordinator for this diverse group. . .a must have for understanding the evolution of art since the 1960s.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unwatchable February 13, 2011
Although I hoped for some insights into the 1960's art world of New York, I lasted less than ten minutes before succumbing to nausea and vertigo from this frenetic, fragmented, and overstimulated film. For example, some expert was given perhaps one minute to make a point--while background music with words conflicted with his own words, as did the pointless special effects background.

There was no room to think or behold anything. What a waste of that ten minutes.

I had to watch a Duke Ellington video just to recover.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars a frustrating unscholarly mess
you wont make head nor tail of it and if you do you're getting a false sense of the subjet and time. Read more
Published on June 11, 2011 by Dean Morris
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
This video was not even close to being a worthwhile watch. The description was deceiving, and over-promising. I have had more fun watching paint dry.
Published on November 13, 2010 by Jennifer A. Kirkwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful documentary
I love this video. It is both documentary and philosophy in about the visual arts. Specifically; the abstract and contemporary arts and art critics engagement in these domains.
Published on November 12, 2009 by Keith R. Prior
4.0 out of 5 stars ...from ArtsyFartsy News, May/June 2008
Have you ever wondered how the Andy Warhols, the Jasper Johns and the David Hockneys got their work in museums while they were alive?

Well, I have! Read more
Published on January 25, 2009 by Robert Burridge Studio
4.0 out of 5 stars A: some weirdo and some rich people
Recommended doc for anyone that enjoys documentaries in general and anyone that is interested in art history and particularly American art and art in the 20th Century. Read more
Published on September 15, 2008 by 2 cents
4.0 out of 5 stars Observations from an artist
I very much enjoyed the video, especially the interviews with artists that were highlighted in the movie. A glimse of living artists that will live forever in this video. Read more
Published on July 3, 2008 by Gregory S. Bruckner
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