Rumor has it that the mysterious street artist Banksy is in Los Angeles as his new film, Exit Through the Gift Shop was released here this week. The artist is celebrating by making some mysterious street art in the City of Angels.
Exit Through the Gift Shop is a fascinating and entertaining glimpse into the world of high-level and socially conscious graffiti artists.
There is no directorial credit on the film, but many believe that it was made by Banksy, a British graffiti artist who is internationally famous but has never been seen publicly, his real name unknown.
The film starts out as a documentary about internationally renowned graffiti artists, including Shepard Fairey in the United States (his Barack Obama portrait became an iconic image of the president’s campaign), Invader in France, and Banksy, whose illegal art has turned heads from the Palestinian segregation wall on the Left Bank to Disneyland. The footage was apparently gathered by a Los Angeles-based French videographer (and cousin of Invader) named Thierry Guetta, who spent a decade documenting the street-artist movement.
But then the documentary changes. Banksy encourages Guetta to become an artist himself, and so he does – becoming a monstrous creation known as Mr. Brainwash, introduced by a big-budget, splashy L.A. exhibition on a scale that would take most artists years to achieve.
And yet, many believe that Mr. Brainwash is himself an invention and that Guetta is really Banksy. If so, the joke’s on us.
You can watch a 5 minute preview of the film below and the movie is opening in select cities (including LA) HERE.