Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop

Exit Through the Gift Shop, a film by Banksy (2010)

A few days ago I was finally able to see the street artist Banksy's newest venture, his film Exit Through The Gift Shop. A few weeks ago I posted an article detailing some of the fabulous movies that have recently come out about art, the art world and the marketing hype that so often surrounds this industry. However, if you really want to understand how hype can build an artist literally from the ground up in about a week, you need to see this movie.

Beginning with a bit of a history lesson on street art and the graffiti artists who made it the huge phenomenon it is today. If you are a street art aficionado this will be a bit of a review, but what a review! Actual footage of the heroes of the movement working their craft on buildings, billboards, roads, and anywhere else with a flat surface (sometimes it doesn't even have to be flat!) is a stunning example of unprecedented access to a very secretive society. Following the beginning of Mister Brainwash, aka Thierry Guetta, a crazy man on a mission with a camera. Though Guetta is initially quite likable in his own way, he becomes a bit of an enigma you don't really want to understand. The movie follows his journey into the secret world of street artists and their daily battles with police.

Featuring the biggest names in the movement, this movie is absolutely fantastic and I have no problem buying into Banksy's latest statement. Though in his own words this movie began as a documentary about him and was turned back on the videographer when he became a more interesting, or at least scintillating, topic. The movie is rife with insane footage of the artists doing their thing, but it also has poignant moments of suspense when what was supposed to be a quick work turns into a fiasco.

The ultimate subject of the movie is Guetta and his made dash for fame that ends the tale is a insightful critique on the art world and its susceptibility to hype, reputation, and need to be ahead of the crowd.

Two thumbs up, see this movie.

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