I saw Exit Through the Gift Shop over the weekend, a new documentary from the British street artist Banksy that purports to be a sort of biopic about the filmmaker-turned-terrible-artist Thierry Guetta, AKA Mr. Brainwash. The movie is entertaining as hell, though New York Magazine put things into perspective with the headline "Is Banksy's Mr. Brainwash an Art World Borat?" That artists exist whose only talent is in generating hype around their work is not a particularly provocative thought, nor is it surprising that hordes of LA art fans went nuts for Brainwash's work, which the Stranger's Jen Graves likens to "if Warhol threw up, and then Damien Hirst threw up on top of that, and then the throwup threw up." Banksy allows Brainwash to refract all the ridiculous, commercialized, and hype-driven elements of the contemporary art world—the only question that remains is whether or not Brainwash is in on the joke. I hope that he is, because it's funnier that way, but even that just brings us back to Borat, with a dash of that one Murphy Brown episode where her kid's finger painting sells for hundreds at an art gallery. The best things about the movie are Banksy himself, the footage of street artists at work, and interviews with artists including the incredibly articulate Shepard Fairey. But I think other people have seen it and had their minds totally blown, so please do tell why if that describes you.
Anyway, NileGuide has a great post up chronicling the city-by-city reactions to the appearance of Banksy's art in North America over the past few weeks, which have ranged from indifference to pride.
In other artsy news, Igloo Gallery recently announced that they will be closing doors at the end of the month. From the press release: "After assessing the role of the gallery, the potential development of it, and motivation to expand the curatorial mission, we have decided that Igloo will close in order to pursue alternative curatorial practices." Their final show, Pop Coochie, has an opening reception this Thursday and will be viewable by appointment for the rest of June.
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