Films & Documentaries for Art Classes

The very kind and wonderful librarian at my school has shared this list of art films / documentaries / artist interviews that are ideal for showing in an art classroom. Perfect for art cover or sub lessons (or end of term treats?!) I thought it would be useful to have them all in one place. If you can suggest more, please do in the comments!

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I love showing art films in my classroom (sometimes even just for a few minutes at the end of the lesson or start of a project can really bring ideas to life and engage students). On the list of art videos below are good quality films, documentaries, artist interviews, profiles and clips from some of the most highly regarded arts institutes in the world, including the Royal Academy, The Museum of Contemporary Art, TATE, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Getty, Hayward Gallery and the Southbank Centre.

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Any of these art films could be used as part of a lesson or art project extension; an introduction to an art topic; simple homework tasks or enrichment activities. The arts films have great links to other subjects like RE and History too. You could even direct students to the clip as a homework then have a class discussion or group discussions based on their thoughts.


Summer Exhibition 2021 | Meet the Artists I Royal Academy of Arts


Great Art Cities Explained: London


Summer Exhibition 2021 Tour with Yinka Shonibare I Royal Academy of Arts


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There are artist interviews and profiles, art documentaries, BBC News clips and even art analysis films. Since they are all on YouTube, it would be easy to use these videos as part of a homework or art research project.

John Akomfrah: Conversations with Noise | Art21


Artist celebrates women’s bodies by making casts – BBC News


Sun & Sea at The Geffen Contemporary I The Museum of Contemporary Art


Artist Petrit Halilaj’s childhood drawings from the Kosovan War | Tate


Lucy McKenzie – ‘It’s important to stay true to your desires’ | Tate


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The art films span a wide range of themes, from art history to contemporary art and from architecture to portraiture and installation art. The clips could also offer some excellent enrichment for the topics you are teaching.

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A modern gem, the Reliance Building, Chicago I SmartHistory


What does the Virgin Mary look like? I Smarthistory


Annie Morris: When A Happy Thing Falls in the Open Air I Yorkshire Sculpture Park


I have shared other Art Sub / Cover Lessons here – enjoy!

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Joseph Wright of Derby: An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump | Artwork Explained


Cy Twombly’s Large, Swirling Fireworks I Tate


Alma Thomas’ Starry Night and the Astronauts | Art Institute Essentials Tour


A Beginner’s Guide to Appreciating Art I The Getty


Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci: Great Art Explained


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Slavs and Tatars: Samovar | Hayward Gallery


Klaus Weber: Thinking Fountains | Hayward Gallery


Mixing it Up: Painting Today | Vivien Zhang I Southbank Centre


I have shared other Art Sub / Cover Lessons here – enjoy!

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami I Southbank Centre


US artist blends ancient pottery craft with social commentary I Al Jazeera

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I hope some of these art films come in useful for you and your students – I think they are ideal for showing in art sub lessons or art cover classes, or even as part of your lessons to introduce new ideas, techniques, artists or history. Do you know any good art films or documentaries that could be shared? Add them in the comments and I will add them to this list!

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