To celebrate the release of Oeke Hoogendijk’s My Rembrandt from this Friday (14 August), here's our rundown of five of the best art documentaries.
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (2010)
"Warhol repeated iconic images until they became meaningless, but there was still something iconic about them. Thierry really makes them meaningless."
Exit Through the Gift Shop follows an eccentric shopkeeper turned amateur film-maker as he attempts to capture many of the world's most infamous vandals on camera, only to have a British stencil artist named Banksy turn the camcorder back on its owner with wildly unexpected results.
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY (2012)
"I think there is a responsibility for any artist to protect freedom of expression."
Over three years, acclaimed filmmaker Alison Klayman (The Brink) gained unprecedented access to Ai as he prepared for exhibitions, spent time with his family and eventually came to blows with the Chinese government. Her detailed, intimate and stirring portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling, amusing, impassioned and original public figures.
MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: THE ARTIST IS PRESENT (2012)
"If you're alternative when you're young, when you're 18, and 19, and 20, and you're still alternative with 29 and you're alternative with 30, and you're alternative with 40, and you're alternative with 50, but excuse me...I'm 63. I don't want to be alternative anymore."
Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present follows Marina as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major new retrospective of her work, taking place at MOMA. To be given a retrospective at one of the world’s premier museums is the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For Marina, it is far more: it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: “But why is this art?”
NATIONAL GALLERY (2014)
“Documentary filmmaking ruins you for real life, because you learn to be extremely attentive.”
Frederick Wiseman's 42nd film, National Gallery takes the audience behind the scenes of a London institution, on a journey to the heart of a museum inhabited by masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Like Wiseman’s finest work, the highlights here come from eavesdropping in on conversations from both staff and public visitors.
MY REMBRANDT (2019)
"It had never occurred to me that one could buy a painting by Rembrandt."
Available to watch at in cinemas and at home from this Friday (14 August), My Rembrandt is set in the world of the Old Masters and offers a mosaic of gripping stories in which unrestrained passion for Rembrandt’s paintings leads to dramatic developments and unexpected plot turns. While art collectors such as Eijk and Rose-Marie de Mol van Otterloo, the American Thomas Kaplan and the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch show us their special connection with ‘their’ Rembrandt, French baron Eric de Rothschild puts two Rembrandts up for sale, triggering a hard political battle between the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre.
My Rembrandt - Rent