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Required Viewing: Essential Documentaries About Famous Artists

We’re happy if our previous roundup of feature films about artists inspired or rejuvenated any of your artistic or bohemian impulses. That said, pull up a chair. Let’s get real. Here you will find some of our favorite documentaries about artists, many of them current and some even freshly made. Dig out the heart of Louise Bourgeois’ gigantic spiders. Go behind Pablo Picasso’s brushstrokes. Wonder eternally if Banksy’s fooling you. Rebels, superstars, activists, eccentrics, con artists — they’re all here and they’re ready to tell you their story.

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine (2008)

Gutsy sculptress Louise Bourgeois died at 98 years old in 2010, but not before her retrospective at the Guggenheim and the release of this intimate, captivating documentary. The mark she left on art history is indelible. The artist? Oh, she’s feisty. Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine uncovers the immense emotional origins of her giant spiders, sewn pink orgies, surreal sculptural genitalia, and remarkable, intricate “room” installations, as told by the Louise “psychological vampire” Bourgeois herself. It will leave you charmed, intimidated, devastated and, possibly, titillated.

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