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12 Movies About Artists You Should See

Art Lovers | 17 November 2020

Yes the title of this article does say 12 Movies About Artists You Should See, but like art, movies can also be subjective and what one person likes, another may hate.

Having said that, these are 12 movies, in no particular order, I have seen and would highly recommend you make some time to see. So put a couple hours aside, put your feet up and please give them a chance.

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Frida

Starring: Salma Hayek & Alfred Molina Directed by: Julie Taymor

Image result for frida movie

This is the true story of Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek) and her husband Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), the larger-than-life painters who became the most acclaimed artists in Mexican history, and whose tempestuous love affair, landmark journeys to America, and outrageous personalities made them legendary.

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Whiteley

Directed by: James Bogle

Brett Whiteley Documentary

Whiteley is a visual journey into the private life and creative legacy of Australia’s most iconic artist, Brett Whiteley, told “in his own words” using personal letters, notebooks and photographs, interwoven with reconstructions, animations, archival interviews and rare footage.

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Kusama

Infinity ~ The Life and Art of Yayoi Kusama

Directed by: Heather Lenz

Kusama Film

KusamaInfinity is a biographical documentary film covering the life and art of Japan’s painter Yayoi Kusama, now one of the best-selling painters in the world, who earned her recognition despite sexism, racism, and a stigma of mental illness.

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At Eternity’s Gate

Starring: Willem Dafoe Directed by: Julian Schnabel

At Eternitys Gate Movie Poster

At Eternity’s Gate is a 2018 biographical drama film about the final years of painter Vincent van Gogh’s life. 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 it being a suicide.

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Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski

Directed by: Irek Dobrowolski

Struggle Poster

From Producer Leonardo DiCaprio comes a documentary film about Stanislaw Szukalski, an eccentric artist and self proclaimed genius from Poland. After gaining fame leading up to WW2 he fell into obscurity only to be re-discovered late in life. He’s one of the greatest artists you’ve never heard of.

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Pollock

Starring: Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden & Jennifer Connelly Directed by: Ed Harris

Pollock1

The film is a look back into the life of an extraordinary man, a man who has fittingly been called “an artist dedicated to concealment, a celebrity who nobody knew.” As he struggled with self-doubt, engaging in a lonely tug-of-war between needing to express himself and wanting to shut the world out, Pollock began a downward spiral.

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The Cool School

Narrated by: Jeff Bridges  Directed by: Morgan Neville

The Cool School by Jeff Bridges

The Cool School is an abject lesson in how to build an art scene from scratch and what to avoid in the process. The film focuses on the seminal Ferus Gallery, which groomed the LA art scene from a loose band of idealistic beatniks into a coterie of competitive, often brilliant artists, including Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha, Craig Kauffman, Wallace Berman, Ed Moses and Robert Irwin. The Ferus also served as launching point for New York imports, Andy Warhol (hosting his first Soup Can show), Jasper Johns, and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as leading to the first Pop Art show and Marcel Duchamp’s first retrospective. Button Watch Trailer

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Big Eyes

Starring: Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz  Directed by: Tim Burton

Big Eyes Movie

The film is about the life of American artist Margaret Keane, famous for painting and drawing portraits of people with big eyes. It follows the story of Margaret and her husband, Walter Keane, who took credit for Margaret’s phenomenally successful and popular paintings in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Banksy Does New York

Directed by: Chris Moukarbel

Banksy Does New York

On Oct. 1, 2013, the elusive British street artist known as Banksy launched a self-proclaimed month-long residency in New York City, posting one unique exhibit a day in an unannounced location, sparking a 31-day scavenger hunt both online and on the streets for Banksy’s work.
Capturing this month of madness, Banksy Does New York incorporates user-generated content, from YouTube videos to Instagram photos, from New Yorkers and Banksy hunters alike, whose responses became part of the work itself, for an exhilarating, detailed account of the uproar created by the mysterious artist.

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Final Portrait

Starring: Geoffrey Rush & Armie Hammer Directed by: Stanley Tucci

Finalportrait Movie

In Paris 1964, famed painter Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) bumps into his old friend James Lord (Armie Hammer), the American critic, and asks him to be a model for his latest portrait in his studio for a couple of days. Flattered by the request, Lord complies and as the days turn into weeks and so on, he realizes his entire life has been wasted by this erratic genius. The men’s time together jumps between joy and frustration, as we witness the chaotic genius of Giacometti as he completes one of his last masterpieces.

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Basquiat

Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Gary Oldman, Benicio del Toro & David Bowie  Directed by: Julian Schnabel

Basquiat Movie

Despite living a life of extreme poverty in Brooklyn, graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright) strives to rise up through the heady New York art scene of the 1970s and 1980s. He becomes the brightest star of neo-Expressionist painting and one of the most successful painters of his time, and even develops a friendship with Andy Warhol (David Bowie). But Basquiat’s tumultuous life, specifically his addiction to heroin, overshadows his rise to fame, threatening all.

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Have You Seen The Listers?

Directed by: Eddie Martin

Listers

Directed by Eddie Martin and using mainly the artist’s home video footage, this documentary offers a candid and personal insight into the world of street artist Anthony Lister. A harrowing tale of the rise to artistic fame of the Brisbane-born artist, from the first happy family moments to a very unstable lifestyle, crises, drugs, and a crushing separation.

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