Inspiration Information: Documentaries on Art, Architecture, and Design

List order is from newest to oldest (by year of release), and titles are sorted alphabetically within each year.

Related list:
Portrait of the Artist: Films About Famous Painters
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Art and Craft (2014 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
When one of the most prolific art forgers in US history is finally exposed, he must confront the legacy of his 30-year con. (89 mins.)
 
2.
Paradise Garden (2014 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
Howard Finster, the grandfather of the Southern Folk Art movement, was a pioneer that showed the world... (80 mins.)
 
3.
Sign Painters (2014 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
At a time when most American cityscapes are dominated by computer created signage, Sign Painters takes a close look at the past, present, and hopeful future of the hand paint sign industry in the USA. (81 mins.)
 
4.
Cutie and the Boxer (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role as her overbearing husband's assistant, Noriko finds an identity of her own. (82 mins.)
 
5.
Chimeras (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Through the lives of two contemporary artists, Chimeras freeze-frames China at the moment when its aspirations are at war with its sense of identity. (88 mins.)
Director: Mika Mattila
 
6.
Drew: The Man Behind the Poster (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A documentary on legendary movie-poster artist Drew Struzan. (97 mins.)
Director: Erik Sharkey
 
7.
Fifi Howls from Happiness (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary on provocative artist Bahman Mohassess, the so-called "Persian Picasso," whose acclaimed paintings and sculptures dominated pre-revolutionary Iran. (96 mins.)
Director: Mitra Farahani
 
8.
Herb & Dorothy 50X50 (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A follow up to the documentary Herb & Dorothy, that captures an ordinary couple's extraordinary gift of art to the nation as they close the door on their life as collectors. (87 mins.)
Director: Megumi Sasaki
 
9.
Levitated Mass (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The Story of Michael Heizer's Monolithic Sculpture. (88 mins.)
Director: Doug Pray
 
10.
Tim's Vermeer (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Inventor Tim Jenison seeks to understand the painting techniques used by Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer. (80 mins.)
Director: Teller
 
11.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A documentary that chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government. (91 mins.)
Director: Alison Klayman
 
12.
Alles Moet Nieuw - Piet Zwart (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Everything Must Change - Piet Zwart is a documentary about the influential Dutch designer Piet Zwart. (75 mins.)
 
13.
Art Is... The Permanent Revolution (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
In Art Is...The Permanent Revolution three contemporary artists and a master printer explore how social reality and protest are conveyed in art... (82 mins.)
 
14.
Beauty Is Embarrassing (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A documentary on the life and current times of artist Wayne White. (88 mins.)
Director: Neil Berkeley
 
15.
Bel Borba Aqui (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Tattooed onto the skin of Salvador, Brazil, are ubiquitous public artworks created by the artist Bel... (95 mins.)
 
16.
Design Is One: The Vignellis (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world's most influential designers. Throughout their long career... (86 mins.)
 
17.
Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A documentary shot over a decade with unprecedented access to photographer Gregory Crewdson that bares the artist's process. (78 mins.)
Director: Ben Shapiro
 
18.
Just Like Being There (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In the gig poster community, creating artwork is more than just a career - it is a way of life. These... (81 mins.)
Director: Scout Shannon
 
19.
Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
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. (106 mins.)
 
20.
Pablo (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Pablo blends documentary and animation elements to tell the saga of "famous unknown" Pablo Ferro, a man with a personal journey that spans from Havana... (90 mins.)
 
21.
The Dolls of Lisbon (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.5/10 X  
Channeling the Mexican Zapatista movement, The Dolls of Lisbon is New York City's Antagonist Art Movement's latest calling... (72 mins.)
 
22.
Eames: The Architect & The Painter (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America's most influential and important industrial designers... (85 mins.)
 
23.
Gerhard Richter - Painting (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A documentary on the German artist that includes glimpses at his studio, which has not been seen in decades. (97 mins.)
Director: Corinna Belz
 
24.
Medelsohn's Incessant Visions (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
He drew sketches on tiny pieces of paper and sent them, from the WW1 trenches, to a young cellist, who was waiting for him in Berlin... (71 mins.)
Director: Duki Dror
 
25.
New York Is Now (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  
Artist, musician and art magazine publisher Noah Becker gives us an art world insider's view of New York based contemporary art in 2011... (73 mins.)
 
26.
Pushwagner (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A personal portrait of a small man with a great personality. The directors followed the artist Pushwagner for three years... (73 mins.)
 
27.
Shelter Island (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The story of Shelter Island resident and 'outsider' artist Harald Olson and his equally eclectic patron... (79 mins.)
 
28.
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy... (87 mins.)
Director: Banksy
 
29.
How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr Foster? (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The film traces the rise of one of the world's premier architects, Norman Foster, and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design. (78 mins.)
 
30.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this definitive documentary but also delves into Basquiat as an iconoclast... (88 mins.)
Director: Tamra Davis
 
31.
Louis Sullivan: the Struggle for American Architecture (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Documentary about the revolutionary and brilliant Chicago architect Louis Sullivan (1856-1924); his rapid rise to fame, tragic decline, and the ultimate triumph of his creative spirit. (97 mins.)
 
32.
Waste Land (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
On the outskirts of Rio de Janiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives. (99 mins.)
Stars: Vik Muniz
 
33.
!Women Art Revolution (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Through intimate interviews, provocative art, and rare, historical film and video footage, this feature... (83 mins.)
 
34.
Art & Copy (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
ART & COPY is a powerful new film about advertising and inspiration. Directed by Doug Pray (SURFWISE... (89 mins.)
Director: Doug Pray
 
35.
Art Safari (2009 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In ART SAFARI, Art Geek Ben Lewis travels the world in search of Great Contemporary Art - and art that might be great... (224 mins.)
Director: Ben Lewis
 
36.
Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be the Same (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Brock Enright, and his girlfriend Kirsten Deirup drive from Brooklyn, NY to her family's cabin in Mendocino... (79 mins.)
Director: Jody Lee Lipes
 
37.
Objectified (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. (75 mins.)
Director: Gary Hustwit
 
38.
Typeface (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Charting the intersection between rural America and contemporary graphic design. (59 mins.)
Director: Justine Nagan
 
39.
Van Gogh: Brush with Genius (2009 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Dive into the heart of Van Goghs paintings. For the first time, discover in IMAX the fantastic colors and passionate brushwork of a great genius as they take on a new life before our eyes. (40 mins.)
 
40.
Beautiful Losers (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
This documentary follows the lives and careers of a collective group of Do-it-yourself artists and designers who inadvertently affected the art world. (90 mins.)
 
41.
The Cool School (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
How LA Learned to Love Modern Art. A lesson in how a few renegade artists built an art scene from scratch. (86 mins.)
Director: Morgan Neville
 
42.
Dirty Hands: The Art and Crimes of David Choe (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Dirty Hands delivers an intense portrait of David Choe, a young near-schizophrenic street artist that... (93 mins.)
Director: Harry Kim
 
43.
Guest of Cindy Sherman (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A documentary on art-scene commentator Paul Hasegawa-Overacker's relationship with enigmatic photographer Cindy Sherman. (88 mins.)
 
44.
Herb & Dorothy (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Herb and Dorothy Vogel redefine what it means to be an art collector. (87 mins.)
Director: Megumi Sasaki
 
45.
In a Dream (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of Julia Zagar and her husband Isaiah, a renowned mosaic artist, who for the past 30 years has covered more than 40,000 square feet of Philadelphia top to bottom with tile, mirror, paint, and concrete. (80 mins.)
Director: Jeremiah Zagar
 
46.
Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A journey inside the world of a legend of modern art and an icon of feminism. Onscreen, the nonagenarian Louise Bourgeois is magnetic... (99 mins.)
 
47.
Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Profiles Milton Glaser (1929- ), America's foremost graphic designer: designer of the iconic "I [heart] N.Y." logo... (73 mins.)
Director: Wendy Keys
 
48.
One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
ONE BAD CAT is about the transformative role art plays in the tumultuous life of 82 year-old, African-American... (81 mins.)
 
49.
Our City Dreams (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Filmed over the course of two years, Our City Dreams is the story of a woman's struggles and successes as an artist in New York City... (85 mins.)
Director: Chiara Clemente
 
50.
The Universe of Keith Haring (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A portrait of New York artist Keith Haring. (90 mins.)
 
51.
Visual Acoustics (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Visual Acoustics celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world's greatest architectural photographer... (83 mins.)
Director: Eric Bricker
 
52.
Waiting for Hockney (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A young working class Baltimore man spends 10 years on a single portrait, believing it is his means to fame and fortune... (80 mins.)
Director: Julie Checkoway
 
53.
Alice Neel (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The life and work of Alice Neel (1900-1984), American portrait painter. Part of the narration is chronological... (81 mins.)
Director: Andrew Neel
 
54.
The Gates (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A documentary on New York City's biggest public art project ever, an installation called "The Gates," by Christo and Jeanne Claude. (98 mins.)
 
55.
Helvetica (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture. (80 mins.)
Director: Gary Hustwit
 
56.
My Kid Could Paint That (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A look at the work and surprising success of a four-year-old girl whose paintings have been compared to the likes of Picasso and has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars. (82 mins.)
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
 
57.
Bacon's Arena (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A profile of British painter Francis Bacon.
Director: Adam Low
 
58.
Purvis of Overtown (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After a stint in Raiford State Prison for a breaking and entering charge, Purvis Young seemed destined to fail...
 
59.
Who Gets to Call It Art? (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Henry Geldzahler reflects on the 1960s pop art scene in New York. (78 mins.)
Director: Peter Rosen
 
60.
Infamy (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A feature-length documentary about graffiti culture as told through the experiences of six well-known graffiti writers and a graffiti buffer. (91 mins.)
Director: Doug Pray
 
61.
The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A documentary feature about the life of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. (90 mins.)
Director: Amy Stechler
 
62.
Popaganda: The Art and Crimes of Ron English (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Documentary about street artist Ron English, who vandalizes billboards with elaborate, anti-corporate propaganda. (78 mins.)
Director: Pedro Carvajal
 
63.
Art & the 60s (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
(60 mins.)
 
64.
Golub: Late Works Are the Catastrophes (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The work and times of American artist, Leon Golubfrom 1985 to his death in 2004, taking us from images... (80 mins.)
 
65.
In the Realms of the Unreal (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A documentary on Henry Darger, visionary artist, janitor, and novelist. (81 mins.)
Director: Jessica Yu
 
66.
The Jeff Koons Show (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A documentary on the life and work of artist Jeff Koons, told through the perspective of Koons himself, curators, gallerists, and fellow artists (Chuck Close, Julian Schnabel, etc.). (49 mins.)
Director: Alison Chernick
 
67.
Frazetta: Painting with Fire (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
For over 50 years, Frank Frazetta dominated the art world with his images of fierce warriors, helpless princesses... (93 mins.)
Director: Lance Laspina
 
68.
Making the Modern (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Fort Worth, Texas: a little known museum Mecca in the heart of the American West, home to three of the most important collections in the United States... (60 mins.)
Director: Harry Lynch
 
69.
Art City 2: Simplicty (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Travelling around the country, Art City: Simplicity takes viewers on a revealing trip into the studios and lives of a group of singular artists... (58 mins.)
Director: Chris Maybach
 
70.
Art City 3: A Ruling Passion (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
(58 mins.)
Director: Chris Maybach
 
71.
How to Draw a Bunny (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Interviews with Christo, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Judith Malina, James Rosenquist and others help illuminate the life and work of Warhol contemporary Ray Johnson. (90 mins.)
Director: John Walter
 
72.
Art in the Twenty-First Century (2001 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A look at contemporary art and artists. (58 mins.)
 
73.
Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time (2001 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Portrait of Andy Goldsworthy, an artist whose specialty is ephemeral sculptures made from elements of nature. (90 mins.)
 
74.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1998 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A biography of the life and work of the American architect. (146 mins.)
 
75.
Art City 1: Making It in Manhattan (1996 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Unlike any art movie you've ever seen, Making it in Manhattan is informed 'entertainment' about the people who make contemporary art... (58 mins.)
Director: Chris Maybach
 
76.
The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story (1996 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The childhood, adolescence, and incredible adult years of Al Hirshfeld, celebrated creator of thousands of line drawings of famous people... (86 mins.)
 
77.
Bauhaus: The Face of the 20th Century (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
(50 mins.)
 
78.
Beatrice Wood: Mama of Dada (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Beatrice Wood, called the Mama of Dada, is a renowned ceramicist, lover of Marcel Duchamp, and a prime suspect in the Dada art movement of the early 1910's. She died in 1999 at 101 years of age. (53 mins.)
Director: Thomas L. Neff
 
79.
Crumb (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An intimate portrait of the controversial cartoonist and his traumatized family. (119 mins.)
Director: Terry Zwigoff
 
80.
Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A film about the work of the artist most famous for her monuments such as the Vietnam Memorial Wall and the Civil Rights Fountain Memorial. (105 mins.)
Director: Freida Lee Mock
Stars: Maya Lin
 
81.
Umbrellas (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The controversial story of the artist Christo's grand-scale environmental art project in Japan and California... (81 mins.)
 
82.
Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter (1993 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A powerful and intimate portrait, JOAN MITCHELL: PORTRAIT OF AN ABSTRACT PAINTER captures Mitchell's... (58 mins.)
Director: Marion Cajori
 
83.
Frida Kahlo: A Ribbon Around a Bomb (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
(60 mins.)
Director: Ken Mandel
 
84.
Money Man (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
MONEY MAN is a documentary film about an artist, J. S. G. Boggs, who draws money. Boggs draws his "notes"... (60 mins.)
Director: Philip Haas
 
85.
Dream of Light (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The artist, Antonio Lopez, tries to paint the quince tree he planted some time back in his garden. Throughout his life... (133 mins.)
Director: Victor Erice
 
86.
Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A look at the life, work, and impact of Andy Warhol (1928-1987), pop icon and artist, from his childhood... (87 mins.)
Director: Chuck Workman
 
87.
A Feeling for Paint (1983 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
An Arts Documentary in which four professional artists talk about the materials vital to their work... (60 mins.)
Director: Anne James
 
88.
The Shock of the New (1982 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A definitive eight part series on the rise and fall of the modern art movement presented by critic Robert Hughes. (60 mins.)
 
89.
Painters Painting (1973 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The definitive documentary on the New York School Painters. Featuring footage of all the major figures of the New York Art Scene between 1940-1970, showing many of the artists before they became famous. (116 mins.)
 
90.
Le mystère Picasso (1956 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A filmed record of Pablo Picasso painting numerous canvases for the camera, allowing us to see his creative process at work. (78 mins.)
 
91.
Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck (2015 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
(68 mins.)
Director: Olympia Stone
Stars: David Beck