‘It’s BS’: SXSW doc ‘The Art of Making It’ highlights elitism in the art world

The documentary questions the current system that gives an elite few the power to control what’s considered successful art.

By Laura RiceMarch 14, 2022 7:20 am, , ,

Kelcey Edwards grew up in the Texas art scene. She says showing her film at the South by Southwest festival feels like she’s coming full circle.

Edwards says she fell in love with museums while spending time with her dad, who was a contemporary art curator and art professor. She also fell in love with film in Texas.

a headshot of Kelcey Edwards looking at the camera

Photo credit: Kelli Hull

“I was a volunteer for SXSW 20 years ago. I was an intern at Austin Film Society. I was a waitress at Alamo Drafthouse. And I was a real student of, you know, people like Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez … so it really feels like an incredible homecoming,” Edwards said.

The Art of Making It” is her feature-film directorial debut.

“It’s, on the one hand, a love letter to artists who put so much of their selves into the creative labor of making work that will go on to kind of tell the story of our time. But it’s also a bit of a cautionary tale about what we stand to lose if we fail to support and nurture those voices,” Edwards said.

Edwards says when art is in the news, it’s usually for a sensational reason – an auction price or a dramatic heist.

“And there’s very little about who these makers are and where they’re coming from and why they do what they do,” Edwards said.

So her film highlights a diverse cast of young artists in an effort to give the art world a human face. But the other goal is lift the veil on what happens in the art world beyond the occasional headlines.

“The art world is elitist,” Edwards said. “It is a very elitist place. And that’s something that I’m hoping to change because it’s BS; it shouldn’t be. It’s our world. It’s for everybody.”

She says she hopes audiences who see her film will also realize that it’s a bit of a call to action.

“If you don’t remain involved in this world yourself, you’re leaving it to other people to deal with it what they will. And when you lose control of that, you know, what do you really have if you don’t have a say? And you know what, [it] basically is going to outlive us all and tell the story of our time here.”

SXSW runs March 11-20 in Austin.

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