Best movies about modern art?
April 25, 2010 6:29 PM   Subscribe

What are the best movies or documentaries about modern art??
posted by mortaddams to Society & Culture (27 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
The final episode of Simon Schama's The Power of Art, on Rothco, is good. Hopefully some day someone will do a film adaptation of 'Art', an excellent play.
posted by Paragon at 6:36 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by fixedgear at 6:37 PM on April 25, 2010

Pollock is a seriously underrated, excellent film about the destructive artistic process. Similarly, Basquiat (and David Bowie as Warhol!)
posted by meerkatty at 6:39 PM on April 25, 2010

Robert Hughes's The Shock of the New and American Visions are both awesome.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:45 PM on April 25, 2010

I've heard really great things about the new Banksy movie, Exit through the Gift Shop (more contemporary than modern, but still...) Has anybody here seen it?
posted by sexyrobot at 6:48 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Painters Painting by Emile de Antonio. Great interviews with Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Willem DeKooning etc.
posted by Crane Shot at 6:55 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

For contemporary art, Art 21.

The Mystery of Picasso, by Henri George Clouzots, shows how his pictures evolve and it's pretty amazing.

In the realms of the unreal, about outsider artist Henry Darger…

Edvard Munch is a great and strange biopic by Peter Watkins. It is quite unlike any other biopic I've seen…

The closest one would be Maurice Pialat's Van Gogh, which is great and lively. Pialat himself was a painter, so the difficulties of the artistic process seem real and vivid. Although I'm not sure if he's modern enough for what you are looking for…
posted by MrMisterio at 6:56 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Really excellent documentary about modern architecture (specifically, Louis Kahn): My Architect.
posted by sallybrown at 7:07 PM on April 25, 2010

I came in here to suggest "The Shock of the New" but someone beat me to it. The TV series is particularly good, though today it would be a shock, because Hughes wears leisure suits. And he's Australian, and sounds like it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:07 PM on April 25, 2010

It's less about "modern art" than about the modern way of looking at art, but the BBC version of John Berger's Ways Of Seeing is still pretty essential.
posted by neroli at 7:19 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Exit Through the Gift Shop, about street art, is well worth seeing.
posted by lsemel at 7:32 PM on April 25, 2010

If you subscribe to Ovation TV, they have a series of documentaries on modern art; of the ones I've seen, I think Bauhaus: The Face of the Twentieth Century is a pretty good overview to the movement that's essential to understanding modern/contemporary design.

For more contemporary art, I really liked Chuck Close: A Portrait in Progress.
posted by scody at 7:37 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

My Kid Could Paint That was a great one.

nthing Art 21, that is a GREAT show about modern art, AND it's on Netflix instant.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 7:46 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've heard really great things about the new Banksy movie, Exit through the Gift Shop (more contemporary than modern, but still...) Has anybody here seen it?

It's super great for a whole bundle of reasons, a few of which are spoiler-ish so I'll leave it at that. I recommend it very highly.
posted by Damn That Television at 7:58 PM on April 25, 2010

I'm going to see Herb and Dorothy later this week. Heard good things about it.
posted by schmichael at 8:11 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

How to Draw a Bunny is a doc about pop mail-artist Ray Johnson. It has interviews with a bunch of big name artists and gives you a look into the workings of both Johnson's mind but also the social circle and communal artistic energy that he lived in.

There is also a great eponymous doc about Chuck Close which gives a good history on him and how his process has changed over the years (and with disabilities) and includes really interesting shots of how he works now. There are also a bunch of interviews with his portrait subjects.

Another good art-process one is Man at Work about Robert Rauschenberg.

I guess this is a genre that I like too.
I just taped Rothko's Rooms but I haven't watched it yet. I'll try to remember to come and and tell you if it is good. Ovation has a bunch of art films if you want to tape some too.
posted by rmless at 8:44 PM on April 25, 2010

The Art of the Steal (2009) is a documentary about an art heist in the form of a legal and political struggle for ownership.
posted by bigtex at 8:57 PM on April 25, 2010

Art Safari was a good show on a while ago (I don't know about now) about some contemporary artists like murakami and wim delvoye etc. Famous art stars, but still fun
posted by Large Marge at 9:56 PM on April 25, 2010

Rivers and Tides is a wonderful doc about landscape/nature artist Andy Goldsworthy.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:03 AM on April 26, 2010

Seconding "How to Draw a Bunny" - "The Cool School" is also well worth checking out.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:46 AM on April 26, 2010

Not a movie, but Yasmina Reza's play about friendship and an entirely white canvas, Art, is terrific.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:10 AM on April 26, 2010

Seconding Pollock, Herb and Dorothy and How To Draw A Bunny. I'd add the lesser known documentary The Cool School, about LA's Ferus scene [on preview, looks like ryanshepard beat me to it]. And OH MY GOD if you haven't seen Rivers and Tides yet, do it now!
posted by intermod at 7:17 AM on April 26, 2010

Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? = great.
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 7:35 AM on April 26, 2010

All of Schama's "the Power of Art" is incredible, every episode.

Pollock, yes yes.
Yes, My Architect.
posted by scazza at 8:47 AM on April 26, 2010

It might be too late, but do you mean Modern Art or modern art?
posted by cmoj at 9:40 AM on April 26, 2010

I really like Herb & Dorothy and My Kid Could Paint That.
posted by fac21 at 4:15 PM on April 26, 2010

chiming back in to second Rothko's Rooms, How to Draw a Bunny, and Rivers and Tides.

Also, I may be in the minority regarding Who the #@% is Jackson Pollock (I think people mostly get a kick out of it), but I think it mainly succeeds solely in making nearly everyone involved look like an ass, mainly by promulgating a set of easy cliches about working-class people and "the art world" alike.
posted by scody at 3:13 PM on April 27, 2010

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