Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's a Disaster. It's Art.


Speaking of Banksy, the artist made his directorial debut last Friday with the release of the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.

From "Banksy versus Bristol Museum," a free exhibition last year
at the Bristol Museum in England. For the show, Banksy interspersed
his own work throughout the institution's collection.

Billed as "the world's first Street Art disaster movie," the film has its roots in over a thousand hours of footage of street artists doing their thing, captured by a French filmmaker who then turned his raw material (and camera) over to Banksy. The completed documentary has its Seattle premiere tomorrow night (April 23), at the Harvard Exit.

From New York magazine's review:
Banksy decided to “have a go” at more than a thousand hours of video shot by an obsessive Frenchman named Thierry Guetta—unprecedented footage of guerrilla street artists at their clandestine labors, among them Shepard Fairey, Invader, and Banksy himself—after Guetta’s own assemblage turned out like the work of “someone with mental problems … an unimaginable nightmare.” To get the unemployed, sad-sack Guetta out of his hair, Banksy gave him a metaphorical pat on the head and told him to go back home to Los Angeles and try making his own art. This leads to the documentary’s final section, in which Guetta, having adopted the ridiculous nom de plume “Mr. Brainwash,” attempts to conquer L.A. with an immense exhibition. So the film’s original director has become its subject, and its prize subject its director. Narrated by Rhys Ifans with the dryness of a dessicated toad, Exit Through the Gift Shop is both an exhilarating testament to serendipity and an appalling testament to art-world inanity.

More info and an extended 5-minute sneak peek of the film at (and more Banksy at his website).

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