Declassified: A Crime Against Art
March 21 2008
Director: Hila Peleg, Madrid/Berlin, 2007, 100 min, original footage DV
A Crime Against Art is a film based on the trial staged at an art fair in Madrid in February 2007. The trial, inspired by the mock trials organized by avant-garde movements in the 1920s and ´30s, theatrically raised a number of polemical issues in the world of contemporary art: collusion with the “new bourgeoisie,” instrumentalization of art and its institutions, the future possibility of critical artistic agency, and other pertinent subjects. The trial begins with the assumption that a crime has been committed, yet its nature and evidence are elusive and no victims have come forward. The testimonies and cross-examinations become an attempt by the Judge (Jan Verwoert), the Prosecutors (Vasif Kortun and Chus Martinez) and the Defense Attorney (Charles Esche) to unravel the nature of the puzzling "crime against art." Set as a television-courtroom drama and filmed by four camera crews, A Crime Against Art presents a condensed 100-minute version of a the trial.
A Crime Against Art is based on The Trial in Madrid, February 2007
Organized by Anton Vidokle and Tirdad Zolghadr.
Defendants: Anton Vidokle and Tirdad Zolghadr
Prosecutors: Vasif Kortun and Chus Martinez
Defense Attorney: Charles Esche
Judge: Jan Verwoert
Expert Witnesses: Maria Lind and Anselm Franke
Artist: Setareh Shabazi
Public: Keti Chukrov and Barnaby Drabble
With special contribution by Liam Gillick.
Courtesy the New Museum Archive