The Best Art Movies Streaming Now
It is no secret that the world of art has inspired some of the most iconic and memorable movies of our time. From biographical retellings of beloved artists’ lives to acclaimed documentaries detailing the curatorial journey of Peggy Guggenheim, there is certainly a broadly diverse repertoire of contemporary art movies available to you. Now in recognition of these cinematic masterpieces, and of course with the Oscars right around the corner, we’re inviting you to explore some of the best art movies streaming right now. Ready to discover your next film favorite? Let’s go!
1. Black Art (In The Absence of Light) (2021)
Kicking off our list of art movie favorites is Black Art (In The Absence of Light), which is available to you on HBO Max. Directed by Sam Pollard, this documentary thoughtfully details the origin of David Driskell’s landmark art exhibition of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, titled Two Centuries of Black American Art. The film reflects on the countless ways in which the world of art has been shaped by the contributions of Black artists, from the establishment of African-American art as a field of study, to the interdisciplinary innovations of Black artists across the globe. Amongst those celebrated in the documentary are some of the most influential creative minds in art history, including Carrie Mae Weems, Faith Ringgold, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.
2. Banksy’s Most Wanted (2020)
His work is recognized and adored from all corners of the earth. Yet his true identity remains shrouded in mystery. Banksy’s beloved street art creations find themselves at the heart of this documentary entitled Banksy’s Most Wanted, directed by Seamus Haley and Aurélia Rouvier. Leading the audience through an exciting series of political statements, stunts and public artworks, this French-American documentary explores the exploitation of the artist by capitalistic promoters worldwide, the artist’s most emblematic installations, and the stories of those closest to the artist himself. If you are an avid follower of Banksy’s life and artistic journey, you don’t want to miss this documentary.
3. Marcel Duchamp: The Art of the Possible (2019)
He was famed for his modernist and appropriative pieces which draw on everyday objects and the mundane aspects of life. Marcel Duchamp is the focal point of this documentary by Matthew Taylor. It was released in 2019 and is now available to stream on Arte.tv, Amazon Prime and Apple TV. In many ways an exploration of the artist’s work and artistic philosophy, the documentary has been hailed by critics as one of the most detailed retellings of Duchamp’s life and legacy. This movie explores everything between Duchamp’s ready-made sculptures to his sketched reproductions of cheap postcards! You will discover the stories behind some of Duchamp’s greatest contributions to the Dada and Surrealist movements.
4. Frida (2002)
In our view, it’s hard to discuss the best art movies without speaking about the timeless biographical classic Frida, directed by Julie Taymor. This film has earned a place on our list for its intimate detailing of the love, life and career of Frida Kahlo. It stars Salma Hayek as the Mexican surrealist. The film details the artist’s introspective artistic journey to global fame and her most hotly contested political artworks! It also covers her relationship with muralist Diego Rivera. Do you love Frida Kahlo and her art as much as we do? This art movie is a must-see on Apple TV and Amazon Prime.
5. Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (2015)
Last but certainly not least is Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s 2015 documentary centering on the curatorial journey of Peggy Guggenheim. Her art collections continue to be adored by art enthusiasts around the world. Guggenheim’s curated exhibitions revealed the work of Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst, and several others to the world. A sensitive retelling of her extraordinary life, the movie traces some of the heiress’s most successful exhibitions, art sales and reveals the one true of Guggenheim’s life: contemporary art. If you are a budding art curator, or are just looking for some pieces for your home, you have to know the story of Peggy Guggenheim!
We hope that our list has provided some inspiration for your next movie night with friends. There truly are some incredible films to be found in the world of contemporary art. If you love the artists that we have discussed today, be sure to explore our works inspired by Banksy and Frida Kahlo. We’d be delighted to hear about your top picks, too. Which art movies are on your must-watch or timeless favorites list?
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