An Art Lovers Watchlist

The art world is full of fascinating figures and stories, and when Hollywood or streaming services choose to highlight those stories, I’m clicking ‘watch now’ before I even read the description. It’s not too often that a truly engaging or entertaining art documentary, movie or series pops up, but when it does I want to tell everyone about it.

So, that’s what today’s blog is all about. I’m going to give you a line up of films, documentaries, documentary series’, and drama series’ ranging from 2014-2022 to add to your watchlist this weekend!


Big Eyes

Genre: Drama

Directed by: Tim Burton

Release year: 2014

Starring: Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz

This film is based on the true story of American artist Margaret Keane (1927-2022) and her second husband Walter Keane (1915-2000). It’s a story of crime, plagiarism, the evolution of the art industry, and a female artists independence.

Watch on Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime


Banksy Does New York

Genre: Documentary

Directed by: Chris Moukarbel

Release year: 2014

This documentary film follows the evasive street artist Banksy during his “self-proclaimed” month long residency in New York City in October of 2013.

Watch on Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, and HBO Max


The Monuments Men

Genre: War/Drama

Directed by: George Clooney

Release year: 2014

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Claude Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban

This film is based on the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Bret Witter and Robert M. Edsel. Which tells the story of how during WWII, the Nazi’s stole countless pieces of precious artwork with the intent to destroy it. A group of about 345 men and women from 13 nations embarked on a mission to “protect cultural treasures so far as war allowed.” They were then known as the “Monuments Men.”

Watch on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Starz, Philo, Apple TV, and YouTube TV


Medici

Genre: Drama/Mystery

Seasons: 3

Created by: Frank Spotnitz and Nicholas Meyer

Running Years: 2016-2019

This series follows the famed Medici family (a family traced back to the end of the 12th century), a prominent banking family in Florence, Italy and huge patrons in the arts. Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464, a former art student himself) is credited in pushing the completion the dome of the Duomo and supporting the bankrupt architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) in the pursuit. Each season of the series follows different generations of the family.

Watch on Netflix


Abstract: The Art of Design

Genre: Documentary

Seasons: 2

Created by: Scott Dadich

Release year: 2017 (S1)

This documentary series follows a multitude of innovative designers in different disciplines and how design impacts everyday life.

Watch on Netflix


Loving Vincent

Genre: Drama/Crime

Directed by: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman

Release year: 2017

Starring: Robert Gulaczyk, Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, Saoirse Ronan, Helen McCrory, Chris O’Dowd, John Sessions, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Aiden Turner

This is the first ever entirely painted film made of 65,000 frames, all oil paintings on canvas using the same techniques as Vincent van Gogh. A team made up of 125 artists from all over the world painted the film. The plot centers around Armand Roulin, who was the son of Vincent’s postman, Joseph Roulin (who van Gogh actually painted a number of times). One year after van Gogh’s death, Joseph tasks Armand to deliver Vincent’s last letter to his dear brother, Theo. There’s also a discussion of the suspicious circumstances surrounding van Gogh’s death.

Watch on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, YouTube TV, YouTube, and Vudu


Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski

Genre: Documentary

Directed by: Ireneusz Dobrowolski

Release year: 2018

This documentary includes archived footage and interviews that provide a look into the career of Polish painter and sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski. Evidently Szukalski was a “mad genius” with a very interesting life.

Watch on Netflix


At Eternity’s Gate

Genre: Drama

Directed by: Julian Schnabel

Release year: 2018

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaac, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Rupert Friend

This film is not a strict biopic about the life of Vincent van Gogh but is inspired by true events. It follows the final years of van Gogh’s life in Arles, France. The film dramatizes the controversial theory put forward by van Gogh biographers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, in which they speculate that van Gogh’s death was caused by mischief rather than suicide.

Watch on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Tubi, YouTube, and Vudu


Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art

Genre: Documentary

Directed by: Barry Avrich

Release year: 2020

This true crime documentary film is about the largest art fraud in American history that was run out the now discredited Knoedler Gallery in New York City and tries to confirm/deny the culpability of the former Knoedler director, Ann Freedman.

Watch on Netflix


This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist

Genre: Documentary

Directed by: Colin Barnicle

Release year: 2021

This true crime documentary miniseries is about the March 18th 1990 robbery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA. Museum guards let in two men posing as police officers then thirteen artworks were stolen from the museum; works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, and more. They are still missing to this day.

Watch on Netflix


Black Art: In the Absence of Light

Genre: Documentary

Directed by: Sam Pollard

Release year: 2021

This documentary film centers around the work of the late artist and curator David Driskell; and the renowned 1976 exhibition he curated; Two Centuries of Black American Art (held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Two Centuries was the first comprehensive survey of African American art. The film also highlights the unforgettable contributions of some of the foremost African American artists in today’s contemporary art world, including Theaster Gates, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Amy Sherald, and many more.

Watch on HBO Max


Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed

Genre: Documentary

Directed by: Joshua Rofé

Release year: 2021

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” This biographical documentary film is about the man who loved to paint those “happy little trees,” the iconic Bob Ross, and the war his business empire endured. It’s a story about greed, manipulation, and deception.

Watch on Netflix


Inventing Anna

Genre: Drama

Created by: Shonda Rhimes

Release year: 2022

Starring: Julia Garner, Anna Chlumsky, Laverne Cox, Katie Lowes, and Anders Holm

This drama miniseries is inspired by the 2018 New York magazine article about Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin) by Jessica Pressler. The series, developed for television by Shonda Rhimes, follows Vivian Kent (a character inspired by Pressler), and Anna Delvey; a con-artist posing as a German heiress trying to start an art collective in New York City.

Watch on Netflix


The Andy Warhol Diaries

Genre: Documentary

Directed by: Andrew Rossi

Release year: 2022

This documentary series uses Andy Warhol’s diary entries and archived footage to shed light on his life and the secrets behind his famed persona. Warhol’s diary was turned into a book and published in 1989, The Andy Warhol Diaries, edited by Warhol’s long-time friend Pat Hackett. Warhol began documenting his life in a diary after he was shot in the stomach and chest by Valerie Solanas in 1968.

Watch on Netflix


I hope you might be intrigued by these recommendations and as new films and/or series’ are released I will keep these posts going. If you end up watching something from this list or have any additional recommendations comment on this post. I’d love to hear from you all!

Thanks for reading!


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