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Exit Through the Gift Shop
January 14, 2011 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a film by Banksy (copious previously) about himself, street art, celebrity, and Mister Brainwash.

Is Mister Brainwash a sweet guy, a hoax, a buffoon, or all of the above?

Watch the first five minutes here, or the whole thing via instant view on Netflix, or on iTunes.
posted by dirtdirt (72 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
> Is Mister Brainwash a sweet guy, a hoax, a buffoon, or all of the above?

Having seen it, I'm not sure I want to know the answer. Not to the hoax question anyway, though he seems to be exactly the right mixture of sweet guy and buffoon.
posted by vbfg at 8:14 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Buy it now
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:15 AM on January 14, 2011


Good film! Nothing in there struck me as obviously false. I suspect the deal was that Guetta / Mr Brainwash would turn over his archive of tapes to Banksy, and in return Banksy would use his connections to help his career as an artist.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:22 AM on January 14, 2011


**WHOOP! WHOOP!** SPOILER ALERT!!! **WHOOP! WHOOP!**



I say that Mr. Brainwash is a hoaxity hoax all the way. Or maybe more accurately, a practical joke.



**WHOOP! WHOOP!** SPOILER ALERT!!! **WHOOP! WHOOP!**



That being said, I really enjoyed the film.
posted by NoMich at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do to outside circumstances, and regardless of the fact that I watched the movie twice and loved it both times (streaming free on netflix BTW) I am sick of Banksy. Much as the apparent message of his movie is that his art is a commodity, he has sterilized the true roots of graffiti and made it accessible for people outside of the "street" scene, but at the same time burned the roots of said street scene. People that like the Banksy or Shep Fairey;s style hardly care about the real roots of street art or any street art that isn't privileged white people spending a lot of money (printing large things at kinkos is not cheap) to wheat paste things to walls or spray stencils for high media exposure.

You know there are some that argue that if you didn't steal your supplies, it's not graffiti.
posted by djduckie at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I loved this movie because it went somewhere I didn't expect at all. The less you know about it, the better off you are.
posted by smackfu at 8:31 AM on January 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


Just a note: I got very bad motion sickness watching _Exit through the Gift Shop_ in the theater, to the point where I was afraid I would vomit in the theater, and mostly listened to about half the movie.

It might be better on a smaller screen, but, if you're prone to motion sickness*, you might consider a Dramamine!


*I'm not, actually, but I was having inner-ear issues at the time.
posted by endless_forms at 8:32 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it Warholian?
posted by londonmark at 8:33 AM on January 14, 2011


> Is it Warholian?

No, it's refreshingly direct with only a hint of cheekiness.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2011


Huh, I thought I gave my spoiler alert more space than that. Maybe a mod should just delete it if it's going to piss people off.

endless_forms: I watched it on DVD and experienced no motion sickness at all.
posted by NoMich at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2011


I want to believe.

(It's a lot better than Catfish anyway)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:35 AM on January 14, 2011


I just watched it last night on Netflix and really didn't get all the hype. It all seems so recycled from the Pop Art movement from fifty years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 8:36 AM on January 14, 2011


MBW is a brilliant practical joke.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:37 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


It all seems so recycled from the Pop Art movement from fifty years ago.

That was exactly the point it was trying to make, from what I saw.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:40 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think Banksy and and Fairey are constructs created by MBW. The man is clearly a genius. He has obviously been working towards this since the first "Andre has a posse" sticker when he created the Fairey character.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:42 AM on January 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


All I have to say I watched this movie the day after Black Swan. Of the two, I found Exit Through The Gift Shop to be the far more disturbing of the two. One shows the depths of madness and depravity to which an artist will descend to further their own career and the mind games that are involved with trying to justify the end result. The other was about dancers.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:43 AM on January 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


Watched this recently on Netflix. I was willing to believe in Guetta right up through the major LA Mr. Brainwash show, where I started wondering how the hell they ever managed to make this work given all the chaos the film was presenting.

I also can't for the life of me figure out how Banksy remains unknown when they're selling his work in galleries and auction houses for six figure sums. Surely the money has to go somewhere. Who gets it?
posted by Naberius at 8:43 AM on January 14, 2011


I also can't for the life of me figure out how Banksy remains unknown when they're selling his work in galleries and auction houses for six figure sums. Surely the money has to go somewhere. Who gets it?

He's not 'unknown' - just a bit media shy. It's not even that hard to find out what he looks like if you want to.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:45 AM on January 14, 2011


I sort of generally disliked shepard fairey before watching this documentary, but now I really despise him after seeing the film.

Also, I can't help but think that Banksy is a british royal (or somehow connected to royalty) after watching this - mostly because of his demeanor, his obsessive secrecy, and the rhetorical content of his work. As for MBW, anyone got a seed for Life Remote Control? Now that I want to see more of..
posted by zenwerewolf at 8:46 AM on January 14, 2011


NoMich, the spoiler alert is very much appreciated, but I don't think it's necessary when you're just stating your opinion about the explicit question of this post and not actually describing anything that happens onscreen. Still, I just want to say it's cool that you'd play it safe, because throwing in spoilers without a warning is -- and I don't want to be accused of hyperbole -- worse than the Holocaust.
posted by Edgewise at 8:48 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Threeway Handshake: "It all seems so recycled from the Pop Art movement from fifty years ago.

That was exactly the point it was trying to make, from what I saw
"

But to what end? I just didn't get the point of the movie. I knew going in that it was possibly a hoax and just couldn't work up any reason to care either way. They say explicitly that MBW didn't actually make the art himself, so what does it matter if he's a fiction or not?
posted by octothorpe at 8:48 AM on January 14, 2011


I painted over a Banksy once, entirely by accident.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:49 AM on January 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Brainwash gave my wife a big print which now hangs in our living room. Kinda cool but probably worthless - but its an interesting conversation piece.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:56 AM on January 14, 2011


Great film!
posted by useyourmachinegunarm at 8:57 AM on January 14, 2011


I also can't for the life of me figure out how Banksy remains unknown when they're selling his work in galleries and auction houses for six figure sums. Surely the money has to go somewhere. Who gets it?

Set up a corporation. People write checks to the corporation. The lawyer in charge of the corporation sends money to Banksy. Attorney-client privilege.
posted by smackfu at 8:59 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Baby_Balrog, you are my hero.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:59 AM on January 14, 2011


They say explicitly that MBW didn't actually make the art himself

It's interesting that you think that invalidates him/his work, yet above you say what invalidates it is that it is recycled from Pop Art. Which was/is criticized for precisely the same thing - "is it REAAAALY art if it's just Brillo boxes/comic-strip panels/etc? Is it REAAAALY art if you have a 'factory' where a bunch of flunkies produce the work that you sign your name to?"

And I'm serious when I say I find that interesting - I'm not trying to gotcha you. I think the continued rattling around and controversy of those ideas makes that stuff (and I'd include this film in 'that stuff') so fascinating, and makes the value (intellectual, not $$) of Warhol (et al) increase with time.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:04 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every time I think of Banksy, I feel good about myself, because I was over him before he was even all that popular. Yay for having graffiti-obsessed friends! My wackiness had to increase my cool factor at some point.
posted by SMPA at 9:05 AM on January 14, 2011


and makes the value (intellectual, not $$) of Warhol (et al) increase with time.

Not to mention Thomas Kinkade
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:07 AM on January 14, 2011


*** Some spoilers here ***

> But to what end? I just didn't get the point of the movie.

For me, the whole point of the recycling was to fill the gallery space with any old tat, generate some hype with a name attached to it and film the results. The point that I took away from it was that the art world is full of bullshitters who'll happily queue up and pay money to be told what to like.

************ Lots of spoilers here ************

I think the guy who became Mr BW is totally legit. Everything they said about his past was true, and anyone doing any research into him will find that he genuinely is the person they say he is. I think he really did film these guys with no expectation of ever making a film, and he really was the hanger on they came to like who'd climb into dangerous locations with them just to film something he was never going to use. And then, having got this guy in their midst, they had someone willing to act out this role. With the money they made from that one show they can salary him for life, and keep up the pretence for some time to come.

************ Here endeth the spoilers ************

But, like I said above, I don't actually want to know. Whatever the truth is I prefer my version of events.
posted by vbfg at 9:08 AM on January 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


The best part was Guetta's movie.
posted by preparat at 9:09 AM on January 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really enjoyed this film, I must say.

While I believed it initially, I'm now in the practical joke camp, though I do think MBW rather believes in it himself.
posted by Dragonness at 9:12 AM on January 14, 2011


Question. If I as a collector buy a piece believing it was conceived or executed by MBW and it was in fact conceived by Banksy is it fraud? (assuming MBW and Banksy are separate people)
posted by Ad hominem at 9:22 AM on January 14, 2011


I really want to believe the whole thing was a hoax, because that's just plain awesome.
posted by orme at 9:24 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hoax or not, at least it led to Paul F. Tompkins' impression of Mr. Brainwash, and that is quite an amazing effect.
posted by Old Man Wilson at 9:24 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


We should probably check in with Mister Brainwash's acting coach, John Lithgow, to find out if the artist is really real or not.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:25 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Favorite bits were the Banksy interviews, especially this line:

Banksy: I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore.
posted by smackfu at 10:40 AM on January 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really can't decide if Mr Brainwash is a hoax. The thing is that there are four films.

The first film is the documentary that Thierry claimed he was working on when he has filming, but had no intention of making because he never watched his videos after shooting them.

The second film is the "unwatchable" one he made because he was later pressured into actually doing it.

The third film is the one Banksy made by editing the original videos.

At that point, everything is totally plausible. But the film you watch isn't the third film. It's a fourth film, which is the third film, plus everything that happens *after* Bansky said he was going to make the third film. (In the film, he says that he decided to make a watchable version of Thierry's film, and told Thierry to go back to LA and do whatever, and "whatever" turned out to be becoming Mr Brainwash, which then becomes the last third of the fourth film.)

So if Mr Brainwash isn't all pre-planned, then you have to believe that Banksy was really going to make a film that only lasted for the first two-thirds of what you see, and then decided to incorporate everything that happened after, which presumably took place unplanned while he was in the middle of making the third film.

I mean, it's all possible, but it seems like such a stroke of luck that Thierry would go off and do something that gives the final film a completely different spin.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 10:48 AM on January 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


If it was indeed a hoax, and the Brainwash art was actually created by Banksy and/or Fairey, it is probably worth much more than what it sold for. Which is totally fascinating.
posted by D at 10:49 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Spoilers I guess. For documentaries now?]

So if Mr Brainwash isn't all pre-planned, then you have to believe that Banksy was really going to make a film that only lasted for the first two-thirds of what you see, and then decided to incorporate everything that happened after, which presumably took place unplanned while he was in the middle of making the third film.

Or you could believe that Banksy thought he would get enough material from the Mr Brainwash tapes to make a documentary about the street art movement. But when his team "went through over 10,000 hours of Thierry's tapes and got literally seconds of usable footage out of it", they changed course and made the existing movie instead, with its focus on Mr Brainwash.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:58 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are also a few parts that seem scripted to me. The part where Fairey is pasting a sticker to the lamp post, a guy saunters up and flashes a badge, Fairey dashes off like a cartoon villain, leaving the camera man there filming the cop, who just throws up his hands and says "I just wanted to ask him a question"

Maybe I am cynical but I think running from a cop is a good way to get tacked and tazed.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:02 AM on January 14, 2011


I'm really excited that this film is on the short list to be nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary, and its indeterminate whether it is a "documentary" and who directed it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:03 AM on January 14, 2011


Funniest quote from Banksy about the making of the film: "I spent a year [...] watching footage of sweaty vandals falling off ladders"
posted by dirtdirt at 11:11 AM on January 14, 2011


banksy = thierry
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 11:11 AM on January 14, 2011


All I have to say I watched this movie the day after Black Swan. Of the two, I found Exit Through The Gift Shop to be the far more disturbing of the two. One shows the depths of madness and depravity to which an artist will descend to further their own career and the mind games that are involved with trying to justify the end result. The other was about dancers.

"The other was about dancers"?

Really?
I loved both movies and I kinda resent that last sentence.
Exit Through T G S was a brilliant documentary that's an elaborate hoax; an unusual look at how the art world can and does work as a hype driven business (I'm looking at you, Damien Hirst).
Black Swan was a psychological thriller about the pursuit of physical and artistic excellence. It's not about dance as a profession or even about dancers but rather about a mind hopelessly trapped in the pursuit of "perfection" in this art and the pitfalls of competitive pursuit. It's about all the things leading up to her final dance performance and the way she prioritizes all things around this one single idea (obsession) about what she must become. It's beautifully photographed and the score gave me the shivers and the most exhilarating and freaky movie experience since I was 11 and saw Jurassic Park's climax.
You did a good job at compelling me to come out and defend the best film I saw last year in theaters. I'll give you that :)
posted by fantodstic at 11:13 AM on January 14, 2011


This is a truly great puzzle film - it's definitely my favorite of all the movies I watched last year. If it's a hoax, trying to keep track of who has bought into the hoax and who has figured out the hoax is beyond me. After watching it a couple of times, I found myself just relaxing and enjoying it along the lines of enjoying a skateboarding movie or the latest Danny MacAskill project - its all awesome footage of awesome stunts, stunts that are not only perpetrated on the sides of the buildings in Paris or L.A. or Disneyland, but stunts that are perpetrated on the collector (like that insufferable woman who gives a tour of her own house) and even the viewer in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way. Sure, the line blurs as to which stunts are scripted and which aren't, but this whole movie is just Jackass for art lovers, so please don't try this at home because all the stunts are performed by trained professionals.

I think the guy who was painting the shadows cast by the streetlights was my favorite. To me, that was just jaw-droppingly awesome. I want more of that. I think the urban space *needs* more of that.
posted by the painkiller at 11:15 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


But when his team "went through over 10,000 hours of Thierry's tapes and got literally seconds of usable footage out of it", they changed course and made the existing movie instead, with its focus on Mr Brainwash.

Hmm, yeah. If by the time they got through watching/cataloging the footage, Mr Brainwash had already happened, I guess it does make sense.

The other thing that made me suspicious was that Mr Brainwash was such an obvious witless ripoff of Banksy. His stuff just seemed so bad, so derivative in the worst way, that it's hard to believe it could have been "genuine" or successful. But if all those people really did show up for his exhibition, and he really did sell all those pieces, I guess it did succeed. Unless everyone was writing ironic checks.

Now I have to watch it again.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 11:18 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I would have liked this hoax better if MBW's show had happened in a city that is known for art savviness, and it had still succeeded. As it was, it just seemed like kind of a cheap shot to me: "Look! People in LA don't know art from shit! Ha ha!"
posted by queensissy at 11:23 AM on January 14, 2011


I think the guy who was painting the shadows cast by the streetlights was my favorite. To me, that was just jaw-droppingly awesome. I want more of that. I think the urban space *needs* more of that.

Agreed. There's a painting of Bansky's on Broadway Blvd (Los Angeles) that's been there for months now that I'm sure will still be there as long as the same owner keeps the building. One of my friends works at that building and says the owner has now blocked access to that particular wall because he wants the painting to stay. Banksy's defacing of your walls is now a privilege and honor ;)
posted by fantodstic at 11:23 AM on January 14, 2011


For me, the whole point of the recycling was to fill the gallery space with any old tat, generate some hype with a name attached to it and film the results. The point that I took away from it was that the art world is full of bullshitters who'll happily queue up and pay money to be told what to like.

************ Lots of spoilers here ************

I think the guy who became Mr BW is totally legit. Everything they said about his past was true, and anyone doing any research into him will find that he genuinely is the person they say he is. I think he really did film these guys with no expectation of ever making a film, and he really was the hanger on they came to like who'd climb into dangerous locations with them just to film something he was never going to use. And then, having got this guy in their midst, they had someone willing to act out this role. With the money they made from that one show they can salary him for life, and keep up the pretence for some time to come.


*******************************************

That's exactly how I read it. My favorite part was that Banksy—or the actor who played him—had some killer one-liners. Oh and that clip of him using a BMX as a stepladder to wheatpaste.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:32 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just watched this last night and found it entirely fascinating, interesting, and entertaining. Watching it I had very little skepticism about the whole thing, it just seems so genuine. And even if in the end, it was actually a hoax, the movie still stands up and holds its value. Even if you go in knowing that it's a fake, it's *still* very fascinating, interesting, and entertaining.

While people keep calling MBW a buffoon, it still takes a bit of work and luck to actually go out on a limb to hire all those guys, set up the thing, research about art, etc. At least he had the follow through, even if he had hired help from Fairey and Banksy.

And it's a cute critique on hype and the street art scene. Obviously if Banksy hadn't "endorsed" MBW's show, sent a few of his friends his way, struck luck on LA Weekly, etc, who knows what might have happened. But I guess it is a little bit of an underdog story to it as well -- this guy that was just a "roadie" for street art broke out on his own. He's a bit clever, but only downplayed because he is around a cadre of folks that are immensely more clever than he is.
posted by xtine at 11:37 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Randomly saw some MBW & Banksy stuff up at a snobby gallery in NYC after seeing the movie. Seeing the stuff up close, it is hard to believe that it could possibly be created factory style by an unfocused superfan art director & craigslist help...on their first try.
posted by ejoey at 11:57 AM on January 14, 2011


I think it's far too easy to dismiss Thierry/MBW as a buffoon - I think the film makes it quite clear from the very beginning that he is a very sharp, committed, and opportunistic huckster. The first few minutes of the film is basically: "This is Thierry. He films things obsessively. He makes a living by running a boutique where he sells clothes at ridiculous markups to people with more money than sense.", and then there's a shot of someone who looks an awful lot like Beck stumbling out of the dressing room of his boutique. It seems pretty clear to me that Thierry can not only figure out how to sell clothes at ridiculous markups to people with more money than sense, but he innately understands how to sell X at ridiculous markups to people with more money than sense, where X = "street art" for the purposes of this documentary. He just unconsciously adopts Warhol's M.O. as a template and Banksy's style as a medium, plugs the two into each other and watches the money start to roll in. Maybe he is just Banksy's puppet, and maybe his past is simply a fake, but it seems that he was doing exactly the same sort of thing with old t-shirts before he was doing it with art. The filmmaking just enables him, purely by dint of being an obsessive paparazzo, to upgrade his clientele. Sometimes it is enough to be lucky rather than good!
posted by the painkiller at 12:06 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the video of the "fall" that Thierry took was totally fake. I would not be surprised in the least if it turns out sometime in the next decade that people are able to see Bansky in the shots at the end.

After I watched the movie a few months ago, I had the same WTF that everyone here had. I went online. I found lots of websites that are full of WTF just like the comments here. The film succeeds as great art because of this.

I'd like to see Bansky win the oscar for it, but have Thierry dressed as a gorrilla come and pick it up.

No, wait. I'd like Banksy to hand out a thousand fake oscars to everyone on the red carpet before the ceremony.

Oh, no here's what should happen: Shepard Fairey, plagued by legal bills, sells his story to the Daily Mail and blows the lid off the secret of the film.
posted by Catblack at 12:19 PM on January 14, 2011


Right he states in the beginning he buys pallets of cast off clothes and sells them for exorbitant prices in his boutique. Can anyone in LA vouch that this boutique exists?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:20 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It never occurred to me that the whole thing would be fake or staged. And I still don't see why it would need to be.

Occam's Razor and all that, right?
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:38 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It never occurred to me that the whole thing would be fake or staged. And I still don't see why it would need to be.

Well it'd be a phenomenal prank, for starters.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:39 PM on January 14, 2011


Here is the LA Weekly cover story they showed in the film.
posted by smackfu at 12:44 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe I am cynical but I think running from a cop is a good way to get tacked and tazed.
posted by Ad hominem


That could be true but the cop was undercover, wasn't actually arresting him, and he wasn't doing anything particularly bad at the time. For all we know the cop could have just been wondering what the hell he was doing, or even familiar with Fairey's work. I didn't read that scene as staged really at all (obviously any of the scenes could be staged, but that one didn't seem so to me).

One line that I don't know if it was a joke or what, but I found hilariously WTF was when the narrator said basically that Fairey's poster transformed "a little known Senator" into the President of the United States. I can't tell if it was a joke to say that, or that's what Fairey really believes, or what.

Loved the movie because it works as a documentary of some of the figures in the movement, as well as a hilarious character study, and then the mystery is just icing.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:49 PM on January 14, 2011


Banksy = the real Andrew WK
posted by nickjadlowe at 1:02 PM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you're interested, here's a set of my wifes photos of Brainwash finishing the print he gave her.
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:16 PM on January 14, 2011


Banksy = the real Andrew WK

What's the deal with that? I didn't even realize that there was a controversy with AWK NOT being AWK.

Ran across someone attempting to explain it on another board, but the tangential information just baffled me more.
posted by Ct314 at 2:35 PM on January 14, 2011


That could be true but the cop was undercover, wasn't actually arresting him, and he wasn't doing anything particularly bad at the time

You are probably right, I just think his cop training would have kicked in and he would have thought fariey was running because he had drugs, a gun, or an outstanding warrant.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:22 PM on January 14, 2011


"Unless everyone was writing ironic checks."

That comment is accidental genius.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:29 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


haveanicesummer: "One line that I don't know if it was a joke or what, but I found hilariously WTF was when the narrator said basically that Fairey's poster transformed "a little known Senator" into the President of the United States. I can't tell if it was a joke to say that, or that's what Fairey really believes, or what."

I took it as both. On the one hand, it's doing a classic 'building credibility' argument for Fairey, by indexing his involvement with this major national marketing event - both legitimately (for the mainstream viewer) and covertly (ironically and off-record, for the substream). On the other hand, it's this metacommentary about the power, influence and superficiality of art - rather directly stated (to/for the substream) and humorously understated (i.e. downplayed, for the mainstream). The second of both of these cases are jokes, appealing to their audiences in the ways that resonate best. It's a delightfully ambiguous quote.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:43 PM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


You did a good job at compelling me to come out and defend the best film I saw last year in theaters. I'll give you that :)

Then my little too-clever-for-its-own-good joke has done more than I ever expected from it.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:13 PM on January 14, 2011


It never occurred to me that the whole thing would be fake or staged. And I still don't see why it would need to be.

Occam's Razor and all that, right?


To me, the simplest and most plausible explanation is that it's fake. It fits in with the tone of Banksy's art and lots of things are just a little too perfect.

Also, in terms of the point of the movie, it makes no difference whatsoever whether it's a movie or a documentary.
posted by pollex at 11:22 AM on January 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone had to bankroll Thierry's transformation into MBW. Some sort of brilliant smartass looking to put his newfound wealth to good use . . .
posted by whuppy at 6:42 PM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, I know nothing about art, but I think it has to be a hoax for the following reason: The art is too good. No, really. I know everyone laughs about how derivative it is, but there were some seriously cool things in there. Two points in particular:

1. There's all the different celebrities with the Marilyn Monroe hair pasted on. Shepperd Fairey is quoted in the movie saying that he wishes this was some kind of statement on the interchangeable nature of celebrity, but it's not, it's just a bunch of random people with the hair. I just find this hard to believe. I found the same meaning Fairey did before he explained it. And it's just a bit too on the nose to have a purported interchangeable, manufactured celebrity artist making a statement on the same kind of dynamics that made him famous in the first place.

2. The first attempt at a documentary, "Life Remote Control." Yes, unwatchable as a documentary. But its brilliant as an art piece (for me, who again knows nothing about art). It doesn't even pretend to be anything about street art. Instead, the meaning is in the name of the work. This guy films basically every waking moment of his life for years, and then flips through them at random moments, like flipping a tv channel. Just the thought of looking at your life that way, as a series of discrete moments tied up into one long life, and to jump to random moments throughout the years, I really like that. It's kinda the same concept that Alan Moore went into with Dr. Manhattan and his sense of time, where he sees the whole of it, all at once, rather than the particular moment right in front of him.

I just don't think that a complete idiot would stumble on good art like that.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 2:04 PM on January 18, 2011


This cat is for reals though.
posted by moody cow at 12:14 AM on February 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


> 2. The first attempt at a documentary, "Life Remote Control." Yes, unwatchable as a documentary. But its brilliant as an art piece (for me, who again knows nothing about art). It doesn't even pretend to be anything about street art. Instead, the meaning is in the name of the work. This guy films basically every waking moment of his life for years, and then flips through them at random moments, like flipping a tv channel. Just the thought of looking at your life that way, as a series of discrete moments tied up into one long life, and to jump to random moments throughout the years, I really like that. It's kinda the same concept that Alan Moore went into with Dr. Manhattan and his sense of time, where he sees the whole of it, all at once, rather than the particular moment right in front of him.

Hmm. As a scholar in the field, I'd be very very hard-pressed to see that as "good art." It's super derivative. Video art has been around way too long for that to be interesting or groundbreaking.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:31 AM on February 10, 2011


I mean, if you want some better avant-garde documentarians, I can point you to a dozen, who have much more coherent and confrontational "dr. manhattan" time or whatever. Bergson and Deleuze's ideas of temporality and duration have had an effect on the film academy and avant-garde, for sure...

Craig Baldwin
Pat O'Neill
Morgan Fisher
Thom Andersen
Carlos Molinero
Jay Rosenblatt
Jem Cohen
Chris fucking Marker
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:36 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


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