Guggenheim attests, in an audio clip, that all the stories about the poverty-stricken Irish literary genius we've heard down the years were plain true: he loved a drink and to dance a jig when three sheets to the wind. While Guggenheim was into radical art and radical exhibitions, Lisa Immordino Vreeland's documentary Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (2015) takes a fairly standard-issue cradle-to-the-grave biography approach, with talking head interviews, audio snippets and archive video footage. The highlight of the documentary is Robert De Niro's recounting the time he visited the Guggenheim Collection, at eighteen and backpacking around Europe, whereupon entering the palazzo, he immediately spied a painting by his mother, Virginia Admiral. The look of shy pride on his face is absolutely adorable. The documentary is at its best when looking at Guggenheim's inspiring achievements in a world dominated, as it is today, by patriarchal systems. Peggy was a one-off and would be utterly astonished by the art world today paying, as it does, tens of millions for works she picked up for next to nothing.
Martyn Conterio | @Cinemartyn