Become inspired with our favorite art documentaries. Below are the the trailers to each film, and the links to view the entire film on Amazon. These films are comprised of our favorite films about artists, art movements and creativity.
RECOMMENDED FILMS: WATCH THE TRAILER
by Lucy Walker
"Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of "catadores" -- or self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz's initial objective was to "paint" the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. Walker (Devil s Playground, Blindsight, Countdown to Zero) has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit ...(more)"
directed by: Harry Moses
"Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? is a documentary following a woman named Teri Horton, a 73-year-old former long-haul truck driver from California, who purchased a painting from a thrift shop for $5, only later to find out that it may be a Jackson Pollock painting; she had no clue at the time who Jackson Pollock was, hence the name of the film.
"According to an interview from the film, Horton purchased the painting from a California thrift shop as a gift for a friend who was feeling depressed. Horton thought the bright colors were cheery, but when the dinner-table-sized painting proved too large to fit into her friend's trailer, Horton set it out among other items at a yard sale, where a local art teacher spotted it and suggested that the work could have been painted by Pollock due to the similarity to his action painting technique. At one point Horton and her friend decided the painting would be good for target practice, but they never got around to trying that activity. The film depicts Horton's attempts to authenticate and sell the painting as an original work by Pollock. Its authenticity was doubtful, because the painting was purchased at a thrift store, is unsigned, and is without provenance.In this documentary, veteran filmmaker Harry Moses exposes the controversy in the world of high priced artwork. He paints a vivid picture of how art is bought and sold in America."(more)...
directed by Megumi Sasaki
"HERB AND DOROTHY tells the extraordinary story of a postal clerk and a librarian who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, the Vogels quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb's salary to purchase art they liked, they collected guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists, including Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner. HERB AND DOROTHY provides a unique chronicle of the world of contemporary art from two unlikely collectors, whose shared passion and discipline defies stereotypes and redefines what it means to be a patron of the arts."...(more).
directed by: Banksy
"Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) is a French immigrant living in Los Angeles, making a comfortable living with his vintage clothing shop. He also has a strange obsession with carrying a camera everywhere he goes, constantly filming his surroundings. On a holiday in France, he discovers his cousin is Invader, an internationally known street artist. Thierry finds this fascinating, and accompanies Invader and his friends, including the artists Monsieur André and Zevs on their nocturnal adventures, documenting their activities. A few months later, Invader visits Thierry in LA, and arranges a meeting with Shepard Fairey. Thierry continues filming Fairey's activities even after Invader has returned home to France. While Fairey is confused by Thierry's enthusiasm, Thierry states that he wishes to make a complete documentary about street art, and the two cross the nation, shooting other artists at work, including Poster Boy, Seizer, Neck Face, Sweet Toof, Cyclops, Ron English, Dotmasters, Swoon, Azil, Borf and Buffmonster. What Guetta fails to tell Fairey is that he has no plan to compile his footage into an actual film, and indeed never looks at his footage.
"Guetta continues to hear more about Banksy – a prominent and particularly secretive artist. His attempts to contact Banksy meet with failure, until one day Banksy visits LA without his usual accomplice, who is refused entry to the US. Stuck in LA without a guide, Banksy contacts Fairey, who calls Guetta. Guetta becomes Banksy's guide in LA, later following him back to England, winning the privilege to film Banksy on his home turf – a feat that confuses Banksy's crew. Banksy, however, sees the opportunity to document street art, which he recognizes as having a "short life span", and after Guetta aids him in recording both production, deployment and crowd reactions to his "Murdered Phone-box" piece, asks him to film the preparations for his "Barely Legal" show. The two become friends, as Guetta provides Banksy with some relief from his anonymity. Returning to LA, Guetta becomes bored, and eventually ends up producing his own stickers and decals and putting them up in the city...(more).
directed by Gary Hustwit
"Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.
"Helvetica encompasses the worlds of design, advertising, psychology, and communication, and invites us to take a second look at the thousands of words we see every day. The film was shot in high-definition on location in the United States, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium (more)...