Looking for your new favorite documentary? Artists and art-lovers alike looking for a new perspective should check out these art-related titles, from Damien Hirst’s mockumentary to an exposé of the art world economy, available for streaming on Netflix now!
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Directed by Alison Klayman, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” explores the intersection of art and social activism by documenting the life and work of controversial Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei. Klayman showcases Ai Weiwei’s artistic process as he prepares for a museum exhibition as well as facets of his personal life including his relationship with family members and frequent clashes with the government.
Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery
Award-winning director Anne Birkenstock investigates Wolfgang Beltracchi, an artist and history expert who fooled the international market for nearly 40 years with his fake “originals” in the style of great artists including Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Heinrich Campendonk, André Derain and Max Pechstein. Beltracchi and his wife, Helene, have tricked auctioneers at Sothebys and Christie’s, as well as celebrities such as Steve Martin, with his convincing work. Full of candid interviews with the couple, “Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery” highlights Beltracchi’s artistic talent and reveals his vast knowledge of art history, theory and painting techniques.
Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable
Leave it to Brit Art’s enfant terrible, Damien Hirst, to make a mockumentary about his own typically controversial show that debuted in Venice in 2017. “Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable” explains the fictional story behind Hirst’s exhibit of the same name: a team of archaeologists and divers discovered a trove of long-lost treasure off the coast of east Africa. The treasure, dating to the 1st and 2nd centuries, belonged to a former slave turned collector, Cif Amotan II (an anagram for “I am fiction”). Hirst enters the picture when he volunteers as benefactor of the task of retrieving the so-called ancient treasure.
Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World
As antithetic as it seems, the art world is beholden to its market. Director Barry Avrich investigates art’s billion-dollar economy in “Blurred Lines,” delineating the production and circulation of art through galleries, curators, donors, auction houses and of course, artists themselves. The film features some of the industry’s wealthiest superstars including Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel, Taryn Simon, and Marina Abramovic.
Directed by Colin Day, “Saving Banksy” follows art collectors’ misguided attempts at preserving (and sometimes selling) the work of Banksy, who firmly believes that his art should stay on the streets where it was originally created. The collectors featured in the film, all fans of Banksy, attempt to save his work from taggers who paint over it and city officials who push to remove it, revealing the tension between the ethos of street art and the well-intentioned efforts of adoring art dealers.