All posts tagged: Thierry Guetta

Another Breathless Banksy Update 01.19.11

Awards Season, Ebay Auctions, And Other Tales

brooklyn-street-art-banksy-web-triptychHis mysterious excellency in “Exit Through the Gift Shop” ©Paranoid Pictures

The nominees for the 2011 ©Oscar Ceremony to be held in Los Angeles in February 27 will be announced the 25th of  January and we expect the feeding frenzy of no-news will continue its build up with legions of smart publicists and studio’s marketing heads selectively leaking or straight-up spoon feeding stories to us. We’ve heard that Bansky’s crockumentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” has made the short list of 15 films to be considered for best documentary and because you have a Twitter account, so have you. If he is nominated we can’t wait to see a bimbo with a microphone asking him on the red carpet, “And who are you wearing?”

Sadly, Swiss film maker Joachim Levy says he was left off the credits in the movie and should have been included, according to a New York Times piece by Melena Ryzik, “A few minutes of “Life Remote Control” and some footage from Mr. Guetta and Mr. Levy appear in “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” which subsequently became the story of how Mr. Guetta was transformed, with Banksy’s prodding, from a chronicler of street art into an artist himself”.  He’s protesting bitterly about his exclusion from the credits, and the cash cow the movie is turning into, we might add.

For all we know this is just one of the many marketing plots that Banksy or Banksy’s camp have concocted to create extra buzz for the film in the hopes that it would get nominated by the Academy.  What with the many interviews (via email) that the normally invisible Banksy has granted?  So far the strategy appears to be working as the film did get a nomination this week  from the BAFTA people (the British version of the Oscars) for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.


And finally, we won’t get to find out his true identity now that Ebay has taken down the auction that had 38 bidders up to almost a million bucks. The prize? A scrap of paper with his alleged real name. Sorry kids, no Banksy or Santa Clause information will be revealed.  Luckily you can still bid on a chunk of concrete with a rat stencil sprayed on it.

Tomorrow on Ebay, to more robust bidding I expect, I will be auctioning my electric bill from December. As a bonus you’ll see the price of a weekly Metrocard and a cellphone shot of my granny’s teeth in a glass.


What are we to think? Is Banksy behind this “auction”? For sure he knows his own identity, or does he? And why would this be on Ebay? – Shouldn’t it be on Sotheby’s or Christie’s?

In the next “‘Breathless Banksy Update” we’ll talk about who we think should design his full length burka-style  hoodie to attend the Academy Awards ceremony should he be so lucky as to snag a nomination. If he is reading this, as we know he most certainly is, we urgently implore him to start looking for a designer PRONTO.

In the midst of all the speculation about Banksy’s identity, perhaps the elephant is on the screen in your living room.


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MBW takes a Big Bite: “Exit Through the GiftShop” Opens in US 4/16

The Banksy Movie With So Much More

One basis for “beef” on the street is another artist “biting” your style. But enthusiastic Thierry Guetta proved to be such a good student that he’s nearly made an art out of it.


The danger presented by “Exit Through the Giftshop”, opening April 16th in New York, is not that Shepard Fairey and Banksy discovered too late for their comfort that a trusted acolyte and “documentarian” eventually imitated their aesthetic approaches successfully, but that he studied their marketing manuals too.

“Exit” is a blast – and not just for those considering themselves insiders because they caught the Street Art Train just as it pulled away from all previous definitions of urban/graff/public/fine art.  This hilarious high-speed romp knows how to keep the storyline infused with new oxygen with each twist of plot, with players swapping in and out of the frame to illustrate points, and locations jarringly jabbing throughout with a Blair Witch finesse for nausea.  In the end it appears that no animals were harmed.  But few in the “Street Art” world will be able to say the same.

For the fans, many of the names (and some of the faces) you know are all in here, a scatter-shot list dictated by Guerra’s dedicated following of the secretive and shadowy urban art trail: a lot of Banksy and Fairey, and slices of Invader, Zeus, Swoon, Neckface, Borf, Dan Witz, Sweet Toof, Faile, Ron English, among others.  Other players like Steve Lazarides and Roger Gastman help us to ground the machinations in the context of the chaotic developments. Darth Vader, I mean Banksy, slopes in the shadows dropping dollops of witticism like so many blobs of paint and comes off more haunted than haunting.

Banksy clearly says at one point, “It’s not about the hype. It’s not about the money,” but most viewers will feel a twinge of incredulity at the statement, however heartfelt in that moment. Any artist who goes to such lengths to insure anonymity and stage installation stunts that top the previous ones may have calculated a wee bit of the old evil hype into the equation.  The story as presented shows how hype for it’s own sake can become unhinged entirely from it’s core mission, clone itself at a rapacious pace and unwieldy velocity, and finally stand by itself as an art.

It’s too easy to flatten the layers of the actors in this post-post-post modern play, and lazy.  It’s not just a story of two street artists unwittingly training their competition while enjoying the company of a one-man glee club with one hand on the ladder and a roving eye. Instead a documentary of this complexity may stand as a jittery cautionary tale, a dramatic foreshadowing of a world of de-contextualized images, recombined and employed with a sharp hand for any purpose anywhere.  It’s not the first time that imagery has been appropriated and re-engineered – it’s just the ease of use and wonderful availability of it all.  As one of MBW’s graphic artists explained about the process of creating new works for him to give up or down thumbs, “We scan the pictures and use Photoshop”.  Hopefully increased cultural literacy of these technological truths will prepare us to deal with future mash-ups of things we once considered institutions.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-MBWS DON'T BE CRUEL copy

Guetta is at times depicted as a loyal fan, an insatiable documentarian, an unsteady hand, a loving family man, and an immensely driven director of his career. For the measured hand-wringing Fairey and Banksy express about their association with the elephant in the living room that eventually emulated them, each of them is too smart not to have seen it coming, and they seem to delight in the waves he has made. While reflecting on his own tumultuous path through the street art world as it continued to explode around him, the filmmaker, street artist, and man behind the moniker MBW says, “I don’t know how to play chess, but my life is a chess game”. Check!

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” comes to the US April 16.

Exit Through the Giftshop

Sunshine, NY    16-Apr
Lincoln Plaza, NY    16-Apr
The Landmark, LA    16-Apr
Arclight, Hollywood    16-Apr
Embarcadero, SF    16-Apr
Shattuck, Berkeley    16-Apr
Rafael, San Rafael    16-Apr
Aquarius, Palo Alto    16-Apr
Ritz 5, Philadelphia    23-Apr
Century, Chicago    23-Apr
Harvard Exit, Seattle    23-Apr
Kendall Square, Boston    23-Apr
Lagoon, Minneapolis    30-Apr
E Street, Washington, DC    30-Apr
Harbor, Baltimore    30-Apr
Midtown Art, Atlanta    30-Apr
Mayan, Denver    30-Apr
Hillcrest, SD    30-Apr
Main/Maple Art, Detroit    7-May
River Oaks, Houston    7-May
Angelika, Dallas    7-May
Downer, Milwaukee    7-May
Avon, Providence    7-May
Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis    14-May

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