Actually, Iconic Documentary: An Absorbing Hour with Richard Estes

Telephone Booths, 1967, by Richard Estes. Acrylic on masonite. (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Richard Estes/Courtesy of Marlborough/ASG)
Photo-realism’s most esteemed practitioner is a master of ‘what’s just in your world.’

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I don’t write about film, but today I’ll review a new documentary by filmmaker Olympia Stone called Actually, Iconic about Richard Estes (b. 1932), the American pioneer of photo-realism. It’s a school of painting I’ve always liked, and he’s not only one of its founders, along with Audrey Flack and Chuck Close, but one of its philosophers. I recommend the one-hour film for many reasons — it’s good art history, jargon-free, both jazzy and smooth — but most of all because it demystifies the making of art and the class of humans we call artists.

Estes became famous in 1968 for Telephone


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