Comments on watching and making films.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Street art is a movement that has been brewing for some time, and probably came into consciousness, primarily, because of the mainstreaming of artist Shepard Fairey, with his Obey series, and his infamous Barack Obama "Hope" poster. Street art is generally put up hastily, because of its illegal nature, and is not meant to last in any way. It is guerilla art at its core. It is made for the purest reasons - to make art and share ideas with others. There is, generally, little if any money involved in it, as most of it is spray painted, glued, or otherwise illegally attached to various surfaces. These are secretive people, and most only want the joy of getting away with it, and having their art seen by the general public. Banksy, one of the most prominent members of this movement, and its most private, befriended a man named Thierry Guetta, who was going around and documenting these street artists and had been doing so for years. The two became acquaintances, friendly enough that Banksy agreed to let Thierry tape him, as long as his identity remained secret. It was all fun and games until it wasn't anymore, and that was when Banksy decided to turn the camera on Thierry.

Exit Through The Gift Shop is one of the most fascinating documentaries I have seen in a long time. It explores the very nature of art, whether it is inspired or simply manufactured, and who has the right to call themselves an artist. It could also start an incredible discussion on how people who think they are art aficionados, are, many times, just sheep following a herd. A very small herd, but a herd none the less. This film makes you realize that, even with the best intentions, anyone can turn into a monster while looking for their little piece of the pie. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this film to anyone who is interested in art in general, and the discussion of what makes something art. I'm not a huge fan of any of the people featured in this, but I think the questions behind why they do what they do, and how they do it, is part of what makes all of this so interesting.

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