“Peter’s Painting,” a short documentary from the Brooklyn-based production company Rota6 Films, features our own James Butterwick. James as “The Dealer” appears at 3min 19sec into the film. Read the full article at The New Yorker here.
Peter Guppy, the owner of Prosperity Hardware, in Brooklyn, USA explores avenues of art collecting—which he calls both a hobby and an adventure. He came to be the owner of a painting with a murky provenance, one that he thought could be the work of a Russian master, Kazimir Malevich, the Kyiv-born avant-garde artist who was a pioneer of abstract art in the early twentieth century.
“Back at the hardware shop, James Butterwick, a London art dealer specializing in Russian works, completes his own analysis of the painting. Flanked by hammers and foam paint rollers, Butterwick examines the painting through his round-framed glasses and declares that the chances the piece is real are “on a par with winning the lottery.” In his view, the coupling of the painting’s slight imperfections, which deviate from Malevich’s famously precise edges, with its dubious provenance is an undeniable red flag, but he stops short of classifying the work as a counterfeit.
When Bernier first set out to make a film about Guppy and his family’s business, he imagined a project about the effects of gentrification. But, in the process, he discovered an unexpected story, about Guppy’s appreciation for the irrefutable power of art. Guppy’s painting is something to believe in, whether or not it’s real, he told me: “We place value in it, but it’s really what we believe it to be.” For his part, Guppy has no doubt that his painting is the real thing”.