Baby Lisanne Skyler on the Brillo Box from "Brillo Box (3¢ Off)." From the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. (Brillo trademark used with permission of Armaly Brands Inc.; photo courtesy of HBO)
Baby Lisanne Skyler on the Brillo Box from "Brillo Box (3¢ Off)." From the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. (Brillo trademark used with permission of Armaly Brands Inc.; photo courtesy of HBO)

Film Tracks Warhol Art From UA Professor's Living Room to Auction

Film director Lisanne Skyler documented her parents' purchase of a "Brillo Box" by Andy Warhol at $1,000 — and its eventual purchase by a private buyer at more than $3 million.
Jan. 9, 2017
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Lisanne Skyler's film screened at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 7. On Jan. 14, the film will screen at San Francisco’s FOG Design + Art at 1 p.m. Skyler will participate in a question-and-answer session with Christie's deputy chair Laura Paulson and Gary Garrels, curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The talk will be moderated by Noah Cowan, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society.

Lisanne Skyler
Lisanne Skyler
"Lot 10," a retake on the Brillo Box by artist Charles Lutz, inspired by the path of the Skyler Brillo Box (Brillo trademark used with permission of Armaly Brands Inc.; photo courtesy of HBO)
"Lot 10," a retake on the Brillo Box by artist Charles Lutz, inspired by the path of the Skyler Brillo Box (Brillo trademark used with permission of Armaly Brands Inc.; photo courtesy of HBO)

HBO has released the official trailer for "Brillo Box (3¢ Off)," a documentary film written, directed and produced by filmmaker Lisanne Skyler that is now screening nationally.

The film follows the 40-year journey of an Andy Warhol Brillo Box sculpture as it makes its way from the Skyler family living room to a record-breaking Christie's auction decades later. 

Skyler, a film director and associate professor at the University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film and Television, said the film was meant to explore "the ephemeral nature of art and value."

"Brillo Box" screened, with Skyler in attendance, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 7. Of Skyler's work, the National Gallery of Art says: "Skyler recounts her personal tale of the family's own Brillo Box and provides her compelling take on the course of the art world over the last half-century."

The film will screen at FOG Design + Art in San Francisco on Jan. 14, and it also will air on HBO in June. Plans are indefinite for a spring screening in Tucson.

"The Brillo Box is such a dynamic presence in art history, and Andy Warhol continues to be an enduring influence on artists and pop culture," Skyler said. "By following the Brillo Box, I wanted to explore the role art plays in our lives and the deeply personal and complex ways we value art."

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Skyler said: "I wanted to tell a story about art collecting that's not just about my own family but about how different people respond to works of art and how that changes as our culture shifts and as the economy shifts. And immediately I knew it had to be about the Brillo Box."

The film also was in the official selection of the 54th New York Film Festival. Reviewing the film at the festival, Gary M. Kramer wrote in Film International that Skyler's documentary "is about far more than what the sculpture fetched — though that figure is staggering. It considers the aim, meaning and collection of art."

Kramer also wrote: "Skyler deftly weaves together photographs, interviews and observations about legacy and family, which makes her story — which is slightly heartbreaking — all the more poignant."