Five must-see art documentaries
The museums might be closed for now, but there are still plenty of ways to get your art fix. Here are five documentaries sure to move, transport and inform.
This six-part series goes behind the scenes at the V&A to reveal how the experts care for the museum's varied collection. From the rare and exquisite to the down-right weird, the V&A's conservators, curators and technicians care for it all. This really is a fascinating insight into the of one of London's best-loved museums.Read more ...
This four-part series, presented by sartorially slick art historian Dr James Fox, takes a dizzying tour of our image-saturated era. Starting at the beginning of the 20th century, Fox looks at the surprising fakery of WWI photography, examines the impact of aerial photography on modern art and provides some truly fascinating links between artists, film-makers and scientists, all delivered with contagious enthusiasm.Read more ...
Kevin MacDonald’s documentary was a hit at Sundance in 2016. It traces the life and career of Chinese art artist Cai Guo-Qiang, who uses a number of mediums, but primarily works with fireworks. Over the course of 75 minutes this documentary follows Guo-Qiang in his mission to make his Sky Ladder project a reality. This is an interesting and heart-warming film that highlights the power of persistence and positivity. And who doesn't love fireworks?Read more ...
The BBC recently remade this seminal documentary series, but critics felt it wasn't a scratch on the original, which first aired in 1969. Art historian and broadcaster Kenneth Clark walks us through the history of western art with great confidence and enthusiasm. The series isn't perfect (he largely ignores women and cultures outside Europe) but it set the standard for all art documentaries to follow and most people agree it has a lot to offer. While recognising its faults, historian David Olusoga stated that it 'changed lives'. The entire series is available on BBC iPlayer.Read more ...
Made in 2012, this moving and insightful documentary follows Marina Abramovic as she prepares for her landmark show at MoMA New York. Abramovic is well-known for pushing her body's limits in pursuit of connecting to her audience with intimate performance art. It is almost impossible not to shed a tear when her ex-lover and artistic collaborator Ulay appears during her performance. The scene is made all the more poignant by his death this year.Read more ...
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