Friday, January 28, 2011

My First Movie Review: "Exit Through the Gift Shop"

The film, Exit Through The Gift Shop is a 2010 Documentary that follows the growth of the Street Art scene, centering on the excentric and insane Thierry Guetta. The film includes some of the biggest names in Street Art including Shepard Fairey who rose to fame with his Obama poster.

Fairey holding his iconic Obama poster

The undisputed master of Street Art, Banksy, narrates several portions of the film and gives a rare glimpse into the creation of his work which has achieved a level of ctitical and financial sucess on par with 20th Century masters. 

One of Banksy's most famous works

However these titans of the street take a back seet to the star of the show, Thierry Guetta who is prompted by Banksy to have his own art show. Thierry, a Parisian who moved to Los Angeles in the early 90s became involved in Street Art when he discovered the involvement of his brother-in-law, known by the name Space Invader.

Thierry's obsession with always having his video camera in his hand allows him to gain unprecedented access into the secretive world of Street Art under the pretext of filming a documentary. Artists like Banksy and Fairey allow Thierry to film the development and display of their world because they believe he is documenting the growth of the movement. It is eventually revealed that Thierry is not a documentary filmmaker when his attempt at a film, entitled Remote Control Life is an absolute failure. Banksy, who has become good friends with Thierry during the countless hours of filming, suggests that Thierry make some art of his own. Taking the suggestion as a direct order from the master of the art form, Thierry dives head first into the movement, taking on the moniker Mr. Brainwash (MBW) and immediately scheduling and art show of his own.

However, Mr. Brainwash doesn't make any of the art on his own. Instead he hires a team of graphic artists who bring his "ideas" to life. Validated by his association with some of the biggest names in the Street Art world, Mr. Brainwash's art show in L.A is a unprecidented success. By the end of the show, MBW has sold over one million dolalrs in art and became one of the biggest names in the movemet, even getting the contract to design the album cover of Madonna's Greatest Hits.

This really sucks

The film's pessimistic conclusion is that any clown off the street can sell art to a public who believes that ANYTHING is art. It didn't matter if the art was terrible, MBR's association with high profile artists was the only legitimacy he needed. Banksy ends the movie by saying, "I used to tell everyone I meet to be an artist..... I don't do that any more."

The Trailer

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