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At the Movies: Art Docs

June 15, 2012

On a certain level, I’ll enjoy pretty much any art documentary.  I studied Art History in college and worked for several years as an art critic so I can geek out on the subject fairly easily.  That said, these two new films, both of which open this weekend, look particularly great and I will certainly be indulging.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present

For more than three decades, pioneer of performance art Marina Abramovic has created work that is almost completely dependent upon the existence of her audience.  In 2010, her retrospective “The Artist is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, centered around a performance in which for a 736.5 hour period she sat in the atrium of the museum where she invited visitors to sit opposite her, exchanging in a silent “energetic dialogue.”  This documentary uses her planning of this exhibition as a catalyst to examine her personal history leading up to the present, which includes reuniting with former lover/performance artist Ulay, who she has not seen since the two parted ways after a collaborative performance piece where they walked toward each other from opposite ends of the Great Wall in China.

 

Gerard Richter Painting

Gerard Richter could be considered to be the greatest living painter.  The german artist’s work has ranged from photorealist paintings to abstract pieces deliberately manipulated with a giant squeegee to remove various layers of paint.  Gerard Richter Painting is exactly that, a documentary that quietly and poignantly focuses on the mesmerizing technique of the 79 year old master.

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