Oklahoma Contemporary
Yayoi Kusama Infinity (2018)
An elderly woman in bright clothes draws on a large white surface with a black marker, as behind her black and white pattern walls

New Light

March 27, 2020

#FridayFilms: Women in the Arts

Streaming video about art, selected by Curatorial and Exhibitions Director Jennifer Scanlan
In a studio, a person holding a paintbrush studies a large canvas featuring their self portrait
She's Gotta Have It (2017-2019)

Hello — and welcome to the first installment of #FridayFilms. I’m Curatorial and Exhibitions Director Jennifer Scanlan.

Stuck at home and missing your art fix? I’m putting together a weekly list of videos you can stream from the comfort of your own couch.

This week, I'm bringing you three films (and one series) about women artists.

Kusama: Infinity (2018) | Documentary; 1 hour 16 minutes

Yayoi Kusama is one of the most famous artists of our time, with her Infinity Rooms exhibitions drawing immense crowds and endless selfies. This recent documentary directed by Heather Lenz covers her entire career, including her frustrating beginnings in Japan, her under-recognized groundbreaking work in New York City in the 1960s, and the ways in which her struggles with mental illness have both hindered and helped her career. It is a beautiful film that goes way beyond her signature cheerful polka dots to explore her inner world.

Available on: Prime Video

Frida (2002) | Biographical drama; 2 hours 3 minutes

With zero data to actually prove it, I would say that Frida Kahlo is the most well-known female artist in the Western world. This beautiful movie covers all the drama, pain and passion of her life and shows why her work was truly innovative.

Available on: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Prime Video

She’s Gotta Have It (2017-2019) | Comedy-drama series; 30-minute episodes

This Netflix series by Spike Lee about free-spirited artist Nola Darling slips into the list despite being a TV show because the artwork done by the female lead was created by Oklahoma’s own Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. (Hope you got a chance to see her solo exhibition at Oklahoma Contemporary last year!)

Available on: Netflix

Our City Dreams (2008) | Documentary; 1 hour 25 minutes

Looking at the relationship between place and art, this documentary focuses on five women artists in New York (feminist icon Nancy Spero, performance artist Marina Abramovic, multimedia artist Kiki Smith, convention-defying Egyptian artist Ghada Amer and street artist Swoon) and covers their career over a two-year period (right before the 2008 financial crisis).

Available on: Amazon Prime

Additional viewing

An amazing resource for much-shorter videos is Art21, which offers hundreds of documentaries of contemporary artists for free. Here are some of ones I enjoyed that focused on women artists

Photo: Yayoi Kusama. Kusama: Infinity (2018). Dir. Heather Lenz. Magnolia Pictures. 

Tags tags
film movies art netflix women artists Friday Films

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