For a while now, I've been seeing all these lists on what art docs are good. I've been watching art docs for as long as I've been focusing my time on painting. I believe the first real art documentary I ever watched was Sister Wendy's Story of Painting. Sounds funny but I was living in Newport News, Virginia at the time, I believe it was 1997. And to see the wild pourings of Pollock, the Radiance of Rothko, the Facility of Frank Stella and the Meditations of Agnes Martin, really blew me away. It's funny because I'm sure I had been introduced to the work of a few of these when I took art classes in the 5th grade. Though to this day I can only remember seeing a slide of a black stripe on white background Piet Mondrian. It was the only thing that touched me on a gut level when I was young.
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting
Once I saw this film, and began pausing the section on Rothko just to stare at that work for as long as the tape machine would let it. I had a revelation that art didn't just have to be about recognizable imagery. Many of you know me, and you know that I only grew up drawing cars and band album covers. So I didn't have your regular art education. I skipped many of my art classes in high school because I didn't think they were letting us learn at a pace I wanted to move at. I was not interested in drawing a face or perspective. Mostly because I could already do that. Growing up in Columbus Ohio. I never went to the Art museum...one of the smallest in the country and still is BTW.
Well, shortening up the story. Here's a list, and the youtube links to show you this collection of documentaries on Artists. The one not here on De Kooning, you won't find on youtube. So this is really all about the videos you yourself can see on youtube without my help in finding them. These are in no particular order.
Jean Michel Basquiat - The Radiant Child
Great doc on a great painter to really turned recognizable imagery on it's head.
Robert Hughes - The Mona Lisa Curse
A sad doc about the state of the art world in the present moment.
The Power of Art - Rothko
The best doc on Rothko, I only wish the guy they had as Rothko was the one in a few of the RED plays.
The Great Contemporary Art Bubble
Great doc from the BBC on....well you can tell by the title.
Herbert Kline's The Challenge - A Tribute to Modern Art
This is a tremendous documentary you won't find anywhere except youtube today. This guy went around and really visited the big artists of that age, Miro, Picasso, Soulages, and OH so many more. Watch the whole thing.
Art of the Western World - Episode 17: The Aftermath
This film used to be on every friday on our local cable channel when I moved back to Columbus. I only really liked watching this episode and the following one.
Art of the Western World - Episode 18: New, Newer, Newest
Jackson Pollock Doc
Only one of the many docs on Pollock, even though they are all pretty much the same.
This is Modern Art: Nothing Matters
Great doc by a grand documentarian: Matthew Collings. This one is on the more "minimal" styles of art. Ryman, Rothko, Klein, Martin etc.
Ruth Ann Fredenthal: Portrait of an Artist
Portrait of an Artist, like it's title says. Ruth Ann is an amazing painter that most will never be able to enjoy. They are too busy being busy to slow down and spend some time enjoying.
You know me, you know PAINTERS PAINTING. It's my favorite documentary. Emile De Antonio would hopefully be proud that I am trying to continue on from his seminal film.
Jasper Johns: Ideas in Paint
This is only a clip from this 50 minute doc that was on PBS a good long time ago.
Art City: Making it in Manhattan
Chris Maybach made a series of great docs about being an artist, this is the first one. And still my favorite.
Only a small clip of a doc that I bought years ago. 19 minutes of Brice talking about painting, and making paintings. If you know me you know Brice is my FAVORITE living artist. Well...beside me. ;-)
Sam Francis - The Painter
This is a doc that director Jeffrey Perkins spent many decades working on. You get to watch Francis making "Berlin Red" and many other paintings. Buy it, you will be happy you did.
Part 1 of 2 on youtube. Great doc. This is actually another series that used to come on our local cable provider every friday. I recorded this on VHS and have watched it well over 100 times.
Gerhard Richter Painting
You know the film, you know the legend.
Julian Schnabel: Masterclass
Great short doc on Julian Schnabel. I have watched this many many times, I have a number of short docs on Schnabel and am always fascinated when I am in front of one of his canvases. I will count myself happy if I can one day stand in that massive studio in NYC.
I'm sure if I looked on youtube for another hour I could find a few more that really caught my attention. But you need to search on your own, so these are really just to get you going with docs you might not have seen yet. And there are plenty not on youtube. I got lucky as the Columbus Metropolitan Library system in the early 2K's had an amazing video collection of art docs. That was how I saw Painters Painting, that was how I saw the Namuth Pollock AND De Kooning films (Which many don't know about his De Kooning film). And oh so many more. The river is wide and deep with fantastic art documentaries. Go enjoy them.