Monday, August 24, 2015

My Top 5 Art Documentaries

You will notice a theme in my art posts.  It definitely requires an explanation or clarification at some point but to keep it shorter and to the point today I'll just say that the films on this list are not the typical ones that the art world would herald.  For me these films speak to three important themes:
  • Women Artists
  • Women artists becoming mothers or balancing motherhood & art practice
  • Social, political & feminist ways that the top two influence their work and life
While I say my top 5 documentaries I do not have a specific order in terms of quality.  It just seemed like the easiest way to share.

1.  Who Does She Think She Is? (2008) Pamela T. Boll directed this compelling look at 5 artists who chose to mother and make art and how that worked and was challenging for them.  The interviews is compelling and the work is of great quality. 

2.  !Women Art Revolution (2010) Director Lynn Hershman Leeson covers the Feminist Art Movement of the 1970's and how it connects to other political movements of the time, along with interviews with artists who pioneered activism towards major art institutions and their lack of representation of women making art.

3. The Punk Singer (2013) This is the story of Kathleen Hanna lead singer of Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and a strong voice for the riot grrrl movement.  The punk scene was dominated by male singers and fans and she was a reluctant but penetrating voice for a different perspective in the scene.  Amy Oden directed this film and it is currently available to view on Netflix.

The Watershed Poster

4.  Lost in Living (2013) Mary Trunk documents the lives of several artists both at the beginning of motherhood mixing with art and on the other side with two artists looking back at the mothering stage of their lives.  I wrote out my thoughts on the film here.

5.  Come Worry With Us (2013) This film follows the band Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra as they tour with a toddler in tow.  The conversations are honest, the pressure to maintain music making and be a parent is real and the contrast between being a mother and father in this situation is clear to see.  Helene Klodawsky directed and the perspective is from band members and life partners Jessica Moss and Efrim Menuck.

I do have a few other films that I would like to watch or that I think add more to this theme and are worth reviewing here but I'll save them for another post.  Until then enjoy these films, and I'll just point out that each of these is directed by a woman as well.  I think it's a topic that "we" as a culture of parents (not just as mothers) want to discuss and get out into mainstream culture. 

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