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FAD Magazine covers contemporary art – News, Exhibitions and Interviews reported on from London

Top Documentaries That Art Enthusiasts Will Love

Explore the captivating realm of art through this handpicked selection of the finest art documentaries. This thoughtfully curated list features a mix of recent releases and beloved classics. From emerging talents to legendary artists, these award-winning films offer illuminating insights into our favorite creators, unveiling untold stories and examining the artist’s journey in the modern world. We’ve recently expanded our collection to include even more recommendations, so get ready to enhance your creative inspiration playlist with remarkable documentaries about artists.

What should I watch to learn about art?

#1 Marina Abramovi?: The Artist Is Present

This documentary follows the renowned performance artist Marina Abramovi? as she plans her groundbreaking retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. The film provides an intimate look at the artist’s creative process, revealing how she uses her body as her medium to create physically and psychologically demanding performances that push both her and her participants to their limits. With behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, the documentary explores the motivations and inspirations behind Abramovi?’s boundary-pushing work, offering valuable insights for artists interested in exploring the potential of performance art. By examining how Abramovi? challenges conventional notions of art, the film encourages viewers to rethink their artistic boundaries while considering art’s potential as a catalyst for personal growth and transformation.

#2 The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski

After losing his life’s work during the war in Europe, sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski faded into obscurity, only to be rediscovered decades later in Los Angeles. This captivating documentary, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, unveils the creative journey of the prolific Polish artist. From dark and unsettling to compelling and mythological-inspired, his creations will leave you in awe. As the film’s tagline suggests, Szukalski is truly one of the “greatest artists you’ve never heard of.”

Do you think there are any art documentaries on Netflix? This movie is one of them, but not the only one. Just before you start watching, weigh the pros and cons of using VPN for Netflix that you may encounter. The biggest advantage is that by using Netflix with VPN, you can unblock the library of any country. With a powerful VPN like VeePN, you can bypass regional restrictions and regain your anonymity and privacy. The only drawback is that most VPNs are paid. However, VeePN has a free trial version.

#3 Iris

Iris Apfel, at the remarkable age of 101, has left an indelible mark on the fashion industry and trends. Her influence spans nearly eight decades, encompassing fashion, designs, and textiles. Notably, she even secured a contract with the White House that lasted through nine presidencies.

#4 The Radiant Child

This is a fantastic documentary that delves into the life and artistry of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Directed by Tamra Davis, a close friend of the artist, the film showcases rare footage and interviews with Basquiat’s fellow artists from the vibrant downtown New York scene of the 1980s.

#5 Gerhard Richter Painting

Directed by Corinna Belz, “Gerhard Richter Painting” gives us a rare glimpse into the creative process of one of the world’s most renowned contemporary artists. The documentary captures Richter in his studio, allowing us to witness his meticulous approach to painting and the evolution of his artworks from concept to completion. The film delves into Richter’s musings on art, inspiration, and the creative process. By exploring the interplay of technique, intuition, and imagination, “Gerhard Richter Painting” encourages us to contemplate the countless factors that contribute to the creation of captivating and thought-provoking art.

#6 Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

Contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang completely transformed installation and performance art with his fearless incorporation of fire and explosives. Following his background in stage design, his body of work pushed the boundaries of artistic mediums, materials, and processes. One of his notable creations, Sky Ladder, aimed to establish a profound connection between the Earth and the universe.

This captivating documentary, produced by Netflix, delves into Cai Guo-Qiang’s creative process and ideation techniques. You should definitely download the VeePN add-on to watch this documentary. Cai Guo-Qiang fearlessly challenged both his own artistic practice and the limitations of materials. Guo-Qiang strongly rejected the notion of conforming to society’s definition of “art” and instead strove to establish his own distinctive style.

#7 Beauty is Embarrassing

I didn’t expect art to be this much fun! Wayne White certainly believed so, and this documentary delves into the life and work of an incredibly influential illustrator and artist. It’s a fascinating exploration of a 3-time Emmy award-winning creative who crafted puppets, illustrations, set designs, characters, and campaigns. For all creatives out there searching for fresh inspiration, sometimes the best way to get those creative juices flowing is by observing those who perceive the world in their own marvelous way.


#8 Bathtubs Over Broadway

When a comedy writer working for the David Letterman show stumbled upon a collection of vintage records, he knew he had found something truly fascinating. The world of marketing merged with the realm of Broadway musicals. Marketers and advertisers often seek inspiration from various art forms when embarking on new projects. These teams went beyond traditional billboards and advertisements, using musicals as a creative means to promote their products.

#9 McQueen

Alexander McQueen was renowned in the fashion world for infusing his work with visceral inspirations and profound emotions. His creations exuded passion, brilliance, and at times, controversy. Regardless of one’s perspective on McQueen’s work, he fearlessly delved into his personal darkness to create groundbreaking designs, thereby venturing into new realms of creativity. This documentary delves into McQueen’s designs, which transcended mere fashion and embraced the realm of performance art. He aimed not only to captivate viewers but also to deeply impact them, whether it be through positive emotions, shock, or even repulsion.

#10 Yarn

Folk art? Kitschy? A metaphor for women’s practices and human connection? Yarn art encompasses a multitude of elements. The documentary delves into the world of craftspeople and artists who use knitting and yarn to create installations, objects, and performances. This captivating film explores the unique ways these artists express themselves through the timeless crafts of knitting and crocheting. While these crafts have been around for ages, they are constantly being reimagined and redefined in recent decades.


These 10 art documentaries provide a treasure trove of inspiration, insight, and guidance for artists and art enthusiasts alike, helping them to gain a deeper understanding of the art world and their own role in it. By delving into the lives and works of diverse artists from different disciplines, these films encourage viewers to contemplate their creative journeys and discover fresh paths to triumph.



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