For those of you who are sick of being told that anything slapped onto a canvas is art, check out these 6 art documentaries you don't have to be pretentious to watch. In each of these films, you won't find any berets and you won't find hipsters and intellectuals repeating opinions that aren't even their own. Instead, you'll get to the center of what art means to everyday people, and you'll get a glimpse of artists that take a whole new approach to a form that often gets bogged down with pretentiousness.

"Exit Through the Gift Shop. "

First, this documentary, released in 2010, was directed by Banksy, a mysterious street artist who has taken his art to the people at his own risk. Second, he uses his film to show how pretentious art lovers are often drawn to what they are told to be drawn to, and how the artists that get that credit are not always what they seem to be.


There's not much art that is less pretentious than that found in the comic industry, especially when it comes to the work of the influential Robert Crumb. In 1994, director Terry Zwigoff showed the world just how strange Crumb really is, in this critically acclaimed documentary. In it, you'll see how fine of a line there sometimes is between genius and madness.


"Waste Land"

There's certainly nothing pretentious about spending one's day scouring through landfills for recyclables, which is what the subjects of this documentary did to find the trash used to create immense works of art. Directed by Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, and Joao Jardim, this 2010 documentary follows artist Vik Muniz into the slums of Brazil to turns workers into artists.

"Cave of Forgotten Dreams"

The cave paintings shown in this documentary, directed by Werner Herzog and released in 2010, were painted long before pretentiousness even existed. Not only was this film originally released in 3-D, which makes it difficult to label as pretentious, it also gives you a chance to tour a landmark that only a few select people are ever allowed to view in person.

"Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision"


Directed by Freida Lee Mock in 1994, this Oscar winning documentary highlights the work of Maya Lin, best known for her design of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. If a classy black wall that lists the names of fallen Vietnam soldiers strikes you as pretentious, then you're probably going to have to take a second look at what being pretentious really means.

"My Kid Could Paint That"

Directed by Amir Bar-Lev and released in 1997, this documentary demonstrates the randomness of what is considered true art by showing how a child was able to produce paintings that sold for a hefty fee. For anyone who ever stood in a museum, thinking that what you're seeing is something just about anyone could do, this film will surely shine a light on that thought.