5 Art Films To See at Tribeca Film Festival

Art Films of Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca is hardly the haven of ungoverned loft studios and nothing rent it once was, but the Tribeca Film Festival, which opens Wednesday, still offers a window into the lives of artists. Here are five art films not to be missed.


Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back It seems not so long ago that Maurizio Cattelan retired from art with his famously polarizing retrospective at the Guggenheim in 2011, but has he really ever left the art world? His continued irrepressible presence—at events, with his publishing venture Toiletpaper, even in the title of Maura Axelrod’s long-awaited documentary—suggests that the Italian jokester is just jerking us around.

“Maurizio Cattelan kicks a burning baby carriage in Milan.”

Photo courtesy Maurizio Cattelan Archive


The Banksy Job This is not the Banksy documentary that you’ve seen. In fact, it is the anti-Banksy documentary, a behind the scenes look at the heist of one of Banksy’s most famous public works—in central London, in broad daylight—by the graffiti artist’s self-appointed villain, a figure named AK47 who has dubbed himself the “art terrorist.” Roderick Gray and Dylan Harvey’s inside job blurs the line between fact and fiction.

Still from “The Banksy Job.”


Burden Chris Burden‘s legacy has never been in doubt since he had a friend shoot him in the name of performance art in 1971, but the artist, who died last year, deserves a more thorough look. Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey’s documentary, which features footage of Burden’s performances in the 70’s, burrows deeper into the flesh of a potent artist.

Still from “Burden.”


Everybody Knows … Elizabeth Murray Does everybody know Elizabeth Murray? They should. The painter, who lived in Tribeca until her death in 2007, was famous within the art world for her eccentrically shaped canvases and still one of the rare women to get the full retrospective treatment at MoMA. Her complicated domestic life—which was also the subject of many of her paintings—and struggle as a female painter are paid tribute to by Kristi Rea’s film, with a voice-over by Meryl Streep.

Still from “Everybody Knows Elizabeth Murray.”


The Family Fang Admittedly, Jason Bateman’s second feature, in which he and Nicole Kidman play the children of artists who won’t retire, is not nonfiction. But there is something very true-to-life about casting Christopher Walken as a slightly nutty performance artist, and very honest in its portrayal of adult children’s complex relationships with parents who refuse to grow up.

Jason Bateman as Baxter Fang and Nicole Kidman as Annie Fang in “The Family Fang.”

Photo by Alison Rosa.