I recently caught a film at The Uptown Lagoon Theatre called Exit Through the Gift Shop. I had heard little about this film, only that it involved a very well known (and liked - by me) street artist known as Banksy. The film started out promising, showing a somewhat goofy and likable man, Theirry Guetta, who enjoyed nothing more in his life but filming. I won't give away the pace or events of the movie, but this love transforms into somewhat of an obsession. Through connections he gets to observe some of the most notorious street artists in the world.
If you're not familiar with the works of Shephard Fairey, as I was not, remember this image?
This is by far Fairey's most universally famous print. However, he's quite well known for his images of Andre the Giant and others plastered on buildings. Fairey, as well as most street artists, has taken a page out of the pop art book and made repetitious marks on the cities as trademarks and political statements. None have done so much "damage" as Banksy. His identity remains unknown to the authorities, which for him is quite a good thing. He appears quite a bit in the film, presenting hilarious commentary, however, you never do get to see his face. Banksy's art has always inspired and bothered people in his native UK because he's really not afraid to expose his opinion. Case and point:
This film was not only interesting because it showed the process of the street art - in some cases involving Disneyland security - but because it opened the discussion for what defines "art" quite poignantly. *See previous post on Jeff Koons for more opinions* As Banksy points out in the film, Andy Warhol repeated images to make them meaningless, when someone else copies Andy Warhol now....what would that mean? If nothing at all? Overall, it exposes the art world as being pretentious sheep who would never stop and ask themselves these questions. Does the viewing public even care at all?
Go see it : )