Art Documentaries

10 Best Art Documentaries You Shouldn’t Miss

Art works like magic! It’s when people use their ideas to make beautiful things that we all become unique. When you looked at a picture, did it take you somewhere else? That’s because art can take us on wonderful trips!

The films that show us how artists do their magic are called art docs. We learn about the artists and the amazing things they make through stories. We learn more about art and the world around us through these films.

There’s more, though! Cultural videos are also cool films that teach us about other cultures around the world. That’s how they show us how people in other places live and have fun. Learn more about these great films by reading our guide to Important Cultural Documentaries. It’s like going on a big trip without leaving home!

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The 10 Best Art Documentaries of All Time

What do you know? Art documentaries are really cool movies. They show us great artists, what they think, and how they make art. Also, guess what? Some of these videos are really well-known! Here are the ten best ones ever:

“The Painter and the Thief”

Best Art Documentaries


  • Year: 2020
  • Director: Benjamin Ree
  • Genre: Documentary, Crime

New in 2020, “The Painter and the Thief” is a really cool movie. It’s about a thief named Karl-Bertil and a painter named Barbora. In a very strange way, they become friends! The movie shows how they met and became friends. Putting the puzzle parts together lets you see the whole picture. You can hear what Barbora and Karl-Bertil have to say and even see what happened in court. It makes you think about how different people can become friends. It’s really cool!

“Leaving Neverland”


  • Year: 2019
  • Director: Dan Reed
  • Genre: Documentary

A man named Michael Jackson. Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two grown men, tell their stories in the movie. They say Michael Jackson hurt them when they were kids. The movie tells their stories through conversations and old videos. It’s very sad because it talks about how being hurt as a child can affect you for a long time.

Wade and James also say that Michael Jackson and his friends scared them and wouldn’t let them talk about what happened. Some people believe this movie is important since it makes us think about how we should handle each other. But some people don’t like it because they love Michael Jackson’s songs and don’t think he did anything wrong. People talk and think about tough things after seeing this movie.

“Faces Places”

Best Art Documentaries


  • Year: 2017
  • Director: Agnès Varda, JR
  • Genre: Documentary

A film called “Faces Places” was made by Agnès Varda and a street artist named JR. They go on a fun adventure together in JR’s special van that takes pictures. In France, they drive around small towns and take shots of people they see. After that, they put those shots up so everyone could see them.

They take shots of a lot of different people, like farmers and builders. This movie shows that everyone is unique, even if they just do normal things. JR and Agnès also talk about their own lives and why they like taking shots. Even though they are different ages and make different kinds of art, they become great friends on their trip.

“Kusama: Infinity”


  • Year: 2018
  • Director: Heather Lenz
  • Genre: Documentary, Biography

This cool movie is called “Kusama: Infinity,” and it’s about an amazing artist named Yayoi Kusama. Her art is really unique and different, and she’s from Japan. The movie shows her childhood and how she became well-known, especially in 1960s New York City.

To tell her story in the movie, they used old tapes, interviews, and her own words. People talk about how hard it was for her because she felt different and was picked on because she was Japanese and a girl. She didn’t give up, though. She kept making art and showing everyone how great she is. For me, “Kusama: Infinity” is like a big hug that reminds me that I can still do great things as long as I believe in myself and keep being creative.

“The Salt of the Earth”

Best Art Documentaries


  • Year: 2014
  • Director(s): Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
  • Genre(s): Documentary, Biography

It’s called “The Salt of the Earth.” This is a unique book with stories about a truly amazing Brazilian photographer called Sebastião Salgado. He’s got a camera and is like a superhero! A lot of the cool shots that Sebastião took are shown in the movie. They’re all black and white, but they’re very pretty and show places and people from all over the world.

To take these shots, Sebastião went to some really faraway and sometimes scary places. That being said, he did it to show everyone what life is like there. He saw sad things, like people going hungry and wars. Sébastião didn’t give up hope, even though he saw sad things. He learned that people are very strong and can keep going even when things get hard. These pictures were his way of telling everyone about his hope.

“Cutie and the Boxer”


  • Year: 2013
  • Director(s): Zachary Heinzerling
  • Genre(s): Documentary

“Cutie and the Boxer” is a movie made by Zachary Heinzerling about two special artists named Ushio and Noriko. Ushio calls the way he hits paint onto paper with big gloves “boxing painting.” The movie shows how married couple Ushio and Noriko deal with different issues together. The song is about their love, their art, and how they take care of their family.

“The Artist is Present”

Best Art Documentaries


  • Year: 2012
  • Director(s): Matthew Akers
  • Genre(s): Documentary

The movie he made is called “The Artist is Present.” It’s about Marina Abramović, a very well-known artist. The movie is about her work and an important art show she held at a big New York City gallery in 2010. Marin did a cool thing at the art show called “The Artist is Present.” That woman didn’t say anything for a long time.

People could sit next to her and look straight into her eyes. We see how Marina got ready for the art show in the movie. We see how she makes her art and learn about the things she gave up to become an artist. The piece also shows how her art makes people feel and think about what art really is.

“Tim’s Vermeer”


  • Year: 2013
  • Director(s): Teller
  • Genre(s): Documentary, Biography

I want to tell you about a great movie called “Tim’s Vermeer.” It feels like a big adventure story! There is a man named Tim in this movie who loves to make things. He was interested in how Vermeer, a famous painter from a long time ago, made works that looked so much like real life. While painting, Tim thought Vermeer might have used special tools to help him do a great job. Tim chose to try something new. He used tools from the past, like the ones Vermeer would have had.

He even painted in a copy of Vermeer’s room! There were many things that Tim tried that helped him learn a lot about how Vermeer might have painted. It felt like I was a spy trying to figure out what was going on! You think about how science and art can come together to make something amazing after seeing the movie.


Best Art Documentaries


  • Year: 2011
  • Director(s): Wim Wenders
  • Genre(s): Documentary, Biography

Wim Wenders made a unique movie called “Pina” about Pina Bausch, a very famous dancer. We can see in the movie how great Pina’s dances were! It’s like seeing a cool movie in 3D! Old videos of Pina moving and talking with her friends who danced with her are shown in the movie. The director of the film, Wim Wenders, wanted to show how unique Pina’s moves were and how they made people feel.

This show “Pina” is more than just dancing. Watching Pina dance makes us feel like we’re on a big trip. It was made by Wim Wenders to show how great Pina was and how she changed the way people dance now.

“Exit Through the Gift Shop”

Art Documentaries


  • Year: 2010
  • Director(s): Banksy
  • Genre(s): Documentary, Crime

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” is the name of a really cool movie. It’s about a great painter named Banksy who likes to make people think by painting on walls. The movie is about Thierry, a man from France who moved to Los Angeles. Paintings and words on walls, called “street art,” were his favourite thing. He filmed many artists, such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Invader, to show everyone how cool street art is.

We learn something surprising as the movie goes on, though: Thierry isn’t just making films; he’s also becoming an artist! He makes his own art and changes his name to Mr. Brainwash. “Exit Through the Gift Shop” makes us think about what in art is real and what is made up. It asks us if art should be unique or if it can be bought and sold like toys. It also makes us think about what it means to be creative and how artists get famous.

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We learn a lot about art in these cool videos, like how artists work and pieces of art that are on walls. We can learn a lot about art and have fun watching them! You should watch them with me if you like art or just want to see something cool. Let’s tweet and Facebook about these great films so that our friends can see them too!


How do art documentaries help people understand art better?

Art documentaries offer an intimate look into an artist’s life, creative process, and the historical and cultural contexts that shape their work, allowing for a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of art.

Are there art documentaries suitable for people who are new to art appreciation?

Absolutely! Many art documentaries are made to be accessible and engaging to a wide range of audiences, including those who are unfamiliar with the world of art. These documentaries frequently provide a gentle introduction to different artists and art movements.

Where can I find art documentaries to watch online?

Several streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and specialized art-focused platforms, provide access to a diverse selection of art documentaries.


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