Thursday, January 27, 2011

Under 250: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Is it a documentary?  Is it a mockumentary?  What's real, what isn't?  How much of Banksy went into this film, how much is masquerading as Banksy?  Who is Mr. Brainwash?  Is he real?  He can't be, yet he is.  Is he Banksy?  Maybe, but probably not physically.  Who is Banksy?  Is Banksy one person, or a collective?  Can he do all he does, or does he employ a 'factory' of others.  Is MBW just part of Banksy's elaborate hoax on the art world?  Survey says:  definitely.  Exit Through the Gift Shop takes the intro level primer question 'what is art?' and obliterates it into the flying shrapnel of a postmodern dirty bomb that transforms notions creative commerce, public persona, domain, property, guerrilla missions and methods, the artist as individual, the artist as collective, etc etc.  It's the entire history of contemporary art, the whole theoretical inquiry that took up countless hours of college courses, in one rough around the edges feature-length package.  It's as delightfully cavalier and instructive as it is brilliantly philosophical, giving viewers a real behind the scenes glimpse at street art culture even as it deconstructs the last century of image production in a way that assimilates and (in ways) one-ups Warhol.   Super smart and insanely cool.


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