• Zachary Petit

19 Art and Design Movies to Watch in Quarantine

If you’re like us, you’ve probably been spending a bit more time on your couch at night these days, watching a bit too much TV. Since there’s only so much “Love is Blind” snacking that one can handle before they require a more substantial meal, here are 19 art and design documentaries for your quarantine watchlist. (And if you’re on the hunt for fictive design flicks, Wix has a great list here.)


Are you still watching?


Yes. Yes we are, Netflix.


Rams

Director: Gary Hustwit (the modern maestro of design cinema that you’re going to see a lot of on this list)

“A documentary portrait of Dieter Rams, one of the most influential designers alive, and a rumination on consumerism, sustainability and the future of design.” (IMDB)



Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present

Directors: Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre “A documentary that follows the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.” (IMDB)




Abstract: The Art of Design (Netflix series)

Directors: Various “A look beyond blueprints and computers into the art and science of design, showcasing great designers from every discipline whose work shapes our world.” (IMDB)




Helvetica

Director: Gary Hustwit “A documentary about typography, graphic design and global visual culture.” (IMDB)




Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Directors: Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey “The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America’s most influential and important industrial designers. … ‘Eames: The Architect and The Painter’ draws from a treasure trove of archival material, as well as new interviews with friends, colleagues and experts to capture the personal story of Charles and Ray while placing them firmly in the context of their fascinating times.” (IMDB)




Exit Through the Gift Shop

Director: Banksy “Following the style of some of the world’s most prolific street artists, an amateur filmmaker makes a foray into the art world.” (IMDB) Editor’s Note: It gets a bit more complicated than that, in the most brilliant of ways.




Pressing On: The Letterpress Film

Directors: Erin Beckloff, Andrew P. Quinn “Why has letterpress printing survived? Irreplaceable knowledge of the historic craft is in danger of being lost as its caretakers age. Fascinating personalities intermix with wood, metal and type as young printers save a traditional process in ‘Pressing On,’ a feature-length documentary exploring the remarkable community keeping letterpress alive.” (IMDB)




Art & Copy

Director: Doug Pray “‘Art & Copy’ is a powerful film about advertising and inspiration. It reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time, people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture.” (Amazon)




Page One: Inside The New York Times

Director: Andrew Rossi “Unprecedented access to The New York Times newsroom yields a complex view of the transformation of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity.” (IMDB)




Tim’s Vermeer

Director: Teller “Inventor Tim Jenison seeks to understand the painting techniques used by Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer.” (IMDB) Editor’s Note: The description may sound dry, but this film is utterly fascinating.




Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production

Director: Briar Levit “Up until just over 30 years ago, when the desktop computer debuted, the whole design production process would have been done primarily by hand, and with the aide of analog machines. The design and print industries used a variety of ways to get type and image onto film, plates and finally to the printed page. ‘Graphic Means’ is a journey through this transformative Mad Men-era of pre-digital design production to the advent of the desktop computer. It explores the methods, tools and evolving social roles that gave rise to the graphic design industry as we know it today.” (IMDB)




Objectified


Director: Gary Hustwit “A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them.” (IMDB)




Manufactured Landscapes

Director: Jennifer Baichwal “Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing.” (IMDB)




Bill Cunningham: New York

Director: Richard Press “A profile of the noted and extraordinarily cheerful veteran New York City fashion photographer.” (IMDB)




Urbanized

Director: Gary Hustwit “A documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders and thinkers.” (IMDB)




Indie Game: The Movie

Directors: Lisanne Pajot, James Swirsky “A documentary that follows the journeys of indie game developers as they create games and release those works, and themselves, to the world.” (IMDB)




Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

Director: Grant Hamilton “Various photographers and employees of Polaroid recount their experiences with the company’s instant film in its final year of production.” (IMDB)




Drew: The Man Behind the Poster

Director: Erik P. Sharkey ”A feature-length documentary highlighting the career of poster artist Drew Struzan, whose most popular works include the ‘Indiana Jones,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Star Wars’ movie posters. Telling the tale through exclusive interviews with George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Michael J. Fox, Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg and many other filmmakers, artists and critics, the journey spans Drew’s early career in commercial and album cover art through his recent retirement as one of the most recognizable and influential pop culture artists of all time.” (Amazon)




Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Director: Tamra Davis “Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this definitive documentary but also delves into Basquiat as an iconoclast. His dense, bebop-influenced neo-expressionist work emerged while minimalist conceptual art was the fad; as a successful black artist, he was constantly confronted by racism and misconceptions. Much can be gleaned from insider interviews and archival footage, but it is Basquiat’s own words and work that powerfully convey the mystique and allure of both the artist and the man.” (IMDB)


#JeanMichelBasquiat #Eames #graphicdesignmovies #artmovies #abstract #Banksy #GaryHustwit #DieterRams #letterpress #Helvetica #MarinaAbramovic

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