This weekend, tour your favorite artists’ studios without even leaving home. Discover their influences, their ways of seeing, and how they make their mark on the art world in these fascinating, nuanced documentaries. Watch painters, sculptors, photographers, and art collectors share their artistic and creative inspirations, processes and journeys, both in the studio and beyond the studio walls. Watch artists doing what artists do best, and be inspired!


Top 5 From the Playlist

1. Don't Blink – Robert Frank

Legendary photographer Robert Frank, who once said, “What makes a picture good?- Sharp”, is profiled in this entertaining, unconventional biopic by Frank’s longtime collaborator Laura Israel. Israel has worked with Frank on films and videos since the 1980s, giving her a unique perspective on both Frank’s body of work and his creative process. The film follows his landmark photography series The Americans, which documented his travels through the U.S. in 1955, to movies made with Ginsberg, Kerouac, and the Rolling Stones, all the way through to the present day. Frank is not necessarily demystified in this documentary as much as the viewer gets to be a fly on the wall, going through the archives and overhearing an artist’s practice.

2. Almost There

Filmmakers Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden’s discovery of Peter Anton felt like finding a hidden treasure, a treasure of artwork found under piles and piles of garbage in a deteriorating house. Festival darling Almost There is the story of an eccentric outsider artist whose life unfolds as a documentary scrapbook. Dan and Aaron decide to help Peter by creating an exhibition of his work, which includes archiving the work from Peter’s moldy basement. The press for the show leads to unsettling revelations about Peter’s past, and catalyzes significant changes in Peter’s life.

 

3. Soul of a Banquet

Chefs are artists, and anyone who had ever been a guest at the internationally acclaimed Mandarin restaurant in San Francisco (open from 1961-2006) would agree that chef Cecilia Chiang is exactly that—a restauranteur, a cook, and the progenitor of authentic Chinese cuisine in America. Interviews with culinary luminaries Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, and Chiang herself shed light on Chang’s philosophy of food and her definition of Chinese cuisine. Soul of a Banquet, directed by Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club), takes us from Chiang’s childhood in Beijing through the success of The Mandarin, culminating in a guided dinner party—the banquet—where the preparation and execution of the dishes is nothing less than art.

4. La Artefacta

In her debut feature, Natalie Cristiani crafts an extremely compelling documentary on one of Argentina’s most provocative artists, Nicola Costantino. An artist who pushes boundaries, Costantino uses many mediums and materials, including silicon sculptures, taxidermied casts of animals, and soaps fashioned from fat liposuctioned from her own body. La Artefacta brings the viewer inside Costantino’s studio, offers insight into the artist’s many facets, and follows her journey as she prepares for the prestigious, world-class Venice Biennale in 2013.

 

5. Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Get to know the multifaceted career of Ray and Charles Eames, chronicled through archival footage and interviews with family, historians, and the designers who worked at “The Eamery,” an office in Venice Beach that brought to life some of the most iconic West coast designs (including the coveted and unmistakeable Eames chair). Directors Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey provide a larger view of the husband-and-wife team whose drive to create functional, affordable, and beautiful design made them two of the most important designers of the twentieth century, who to this day remain highly influential in the field.  

Don’t stop now! Keep the creative juices flowing with the full Playlist: Studio Visit.

Weekends are for watching! Don’t miss our recent, themed Weekend Playlists that collect our favorite Noir, Horror, and LGBTQIA+ movies— and check out our recent videos on actress Michelle Yeoh, director David Gordon Green, and how The Coen Brothers Embrace Silence.