3 Art Documentaries To Watch Right Now

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know about COVID-19 and the increasing public safety measures that have been put in place to prevent the virus from spreading. 

In Toronto, all schools (of any level) are closed or postponed, galleries are locked away, and community centres are starting to do the same. So now we are being told to self-isolate and sit in our homes. But what should we do with our new found time?

 In the next few weeks, these blog posts will offer you suggestions on how to not only kill time; but maybe try some new things too while we are at it. This week, let’s take it slow and let me tell you about the three art documentary movies/series that you need to watch right now. 

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang (Netflix 2016)

Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is known for his pyrotechnic art installations. This documentary follows him through the creation of his largest project to date, the sky ladder. The movie is one hour and sixteen minutes long and is one of the most visually stunning documentaries that I have ever seen. It is an easy watch that you will not regret. 

The Price of Everything (HBO 2018)

Filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn dives into the contemporary art world, interviewing some of the biggest names in the scene from artists to collectors and everyone in between. The question surrounding the one hour and forty-five-minute movie: what the value of aesthetic beauty is? If everything can be art, is there no limit? And how does that affect the current art market? The Price of Everything is a dense documentary that I had to break up in an episodic format to finish. It offers excellent insight into a usually secretive world.  

Abstract: The Art of Design (Netflix 2017-2019)

This documentary series, now in its second season, follows designers and their practices in hour-long episodes. Offering viewers an in-depth look at the mediums, teams, thought processes, and technology behind some of the contemporary world’s leading designs. There are fourteen episodes in total, all covering vastly different subject matter from illustration to bio-architecture to photography. That is fourteen hours to learn something new! Which is also why there are only three documentary titles on this list, since you will want to binge this series once you start!

So enjoy that self-isolation a little more, and learn something new about the art world at the same time! I know that I will be rewatching some of the Abstract series over the next few weeks, but if you have any documentary suggestions, don’t be shy. What are you currently watching? Let me know in the comments down below! Stay safe, and I will see you next week.

- Sarah Zanchetta


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