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Exit Through the Gift Shop

Submitted by admin on May 6, 2024 – 1:33 pmOne Comment

Exit Through the Gift Shop is deceptively doughty. At first the images are low-res and handheld first person point of view, yet the imagery is astounding. This documentary opens suggesting it is all about the artist Banksy but it really covers the short but illuminating history of street art and fellow innovators Shepard Fairey, Banksy (never seen full face), and finally Thierry Guetta.

Guetta was a camera buff having videotaped hundreds of hours of everyday life including graphic artists at work on the streets, often in late night situations. His availability and general sense of coolness to the scene (he’s a French dude in L.A.) allows him access to what are in retrospect groundbreaking art installations.

So Guetta is at Kinko’s taping Fairey pasting and cutting several huge paper images and then later that same day capturing Fairey at work as he applies said large images to even larger walls. When British artist of similar fame Banksy meets Fairey in L.A. Guetta gets the call to ferry Banksy around and show him the crunk walls to adorn.

Guetta makes a film of the events but when Banksy, who also directed, sees the finished project he’s aghast. It’s all hustle and flo and no image last more than a second. Short attention span filmmaking for those with even shorter spans. So Banksy takes the footage and makes a more coherent film and it’s revelatory about the process of creation and the mindset of artistic genius.

Exit Through the Gift Shop doesn’t conclude with Fairey or Banksy but with Guetta who has taken it upon himself to put on his own show. Despite near bankruptcy Guetta manages to bring together a Warhol-esque art show at a warehouse in L.A. that brings in a million dollars.

-Michael Bergeron

One Comment »

  • spencer schyma says:

    “Exit Through the Gift Shop” eh? Sounds cool…where would I find this? With Picasso and Dali, Banksy is my favorite artist.

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