ArtWatch: A documentary film

Download film trailer in MP4 format (5 megs)

ArtWatch: The Movie will be showing at the Salmagundi Club on Friday, April 16th at 8pm. For more information, see the link below. This follows its previous showings at the New York Independent Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Columbia University, and Columbia University Law School.

ArtWatch is about the scandal of art restoration – which purports to clean and even to improve masterworks but, in doing so, distorts, alters, or even effaces the original work beyond recognition.

ArtWatch reveals this scandal through the eyes of three individuals highly positioned in the art world. The interviewees protesting the daily destruction of art in the name of scientific restoration include Frank Mason, an artist and critic, Michael Daley, a journalist in England, and James Beck, a professor of art history at Columbia University. Along with the interviews, the film chronicles the trial of Professor Beck, who was arrested in Florence, Italy, charged with defamation by the restorers of the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto in the Cathedral of Lucca, for he said that it looked as if it had been “cleaned with Spic&Span”. Other interviews include the art philosopher, Arthur C. Danto, Ken Shulman, correspondent for Art News magazine in Italy, and Alexander Eliot, former art editor for Time Magazine.

ArtWatch the documentary, directed by painter and filmmaker James Aviles Martin and produced by Miljan Peter Ilich, Alan Baxter and James Aviles Martin, is one hour in length and focuses on these critical issues. Much of the documentary is shot on location in Italy, London and New York.