Go Ahead, Watch a Little TV

Thanks to the rise and popularity of online movie and television streaming services, you almost never hear the once common and rather pretentious phrase, “I don’t even have a tv,” because you can watch anything on almost any device with an internet connection. And, frankly, we’re happy about that because we’ve gone and compiled a list of our favourite documentaries and tv shows related to art and design for your viewing pleasure.

 

The Power of Art
Historian Simon Schama brilliantly presents this BBC docu-series which premiered in 2006. In each of the eight episodes Schama profiles one well-known artist. Various episodes of The Power of Art can be found on YouTube, Netflix’s DVD service if you are in the US, and for purchase in many places online on DVD. The Power of Art doesn’t have a trailer, so here is the slightly ominous intro to the Rembrandt episode:

 

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Real or fake? The jury is still out on that one. Exit Through the Gift Shop is directed by the famous street artist Banksy and follows Thierry Guetta, who was originally the one doing the filming and directing, as he becomes obsessed with street art and eventually brands himself as Mr. Brainwash. Exit Through the Gift Shop was once available on Netflix (and may still be in some countries) but can be found online here and on Amazon. This documentary is less informative and more fun; here’s the trailer:

 

Abstract: The Art of Design
Nearly every Netflix original program knocks it out of the park. Abstract is absolutely one of those shows. Each episode features a visionary in design. From Tinker Hatfield, the man who designed the Air Jordan, to Ralph Gilles, Head of Design for Fiat Chrysler, Abstract examines the art and intentionality of design. Almost everyone has access to a Netflix account, so there are really no excuses to skip out on this one. If that hasn’t convinced you, at least watch the trailer:

 

Waste Land
The world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, which is now closed, was located just outside of Rio de Janiero. It was there that a group of people called catadores cared for the landfill by picking recyclable materials from the piles to make way for more garbage from the city. Waste Land follows artist Vik Muniz from Brooklyn back to his native Brazil where he intends to ‘paint’ the catadores with garbage. Purchase the DVD or watch on Amazon Video here. The trailer will draw you in and you’ll want to watch Waste Land immediately:

 

Helvetica
Who knew a typeface could be so influential? This documentary needs little explanation, so we’ll let the trailer do the talking. Helvetica can be found on the director’s website for purchase or download.

 

Sign Painters
A trade which is a craft which is absolutely an art. Traditional sign painting was nearly obliterated with the invention of vinyl cutting machines. This documentary features modern day sign painters as well as seasoned veterans about their work and is definitely worth a watch. You can stream or buy it here.

 

What are some of your favourite tv shows, documentaries, and movies related to art and design? Send us an email at [email protected] and let us know!