Exit Through the Gift Shop, Real or Fake?

This is a total spoiler alert for those of you that haven't seen this documentary... so don't read unless you've seen the movie.

Exit Through the Gift Shop has been around for a while, but I've recently stumbled across it since it was hard to find in theaters. Immediately after watching this documentary, supposedly put together by renowned artist Banksy, one must wonder if this movie is all a hoax. I've been doing some research on the film to see what people say about it, trying to quench my thirst for the answer.

Whatever, the case, real or fake, I still thought this was an enjoyable film.

Banksy is known for pranks
This film would be the ultimate middle finger to the posh art community, who think they're cooler and better than everyone else. Ultimately, putting Banksy better than the art community. There is a line in the movie which Banksy says, "that we ignore things right in front of us - the elephant in the room." Maybe this movie is the elephant in the room.

Perhaps he's referring to MBW (Mr. Brain Wash) as the elephant in the room
Noting that they (Banksy and Shepard Fairey) didn't see that one coming.

Would Banksy and Shepard Fairey handily market MBW on their websites without ever seeing an once of MBW's artwork?
Shepard Fairey even DJs at MBW's gallery opening. In the film they thought the MBW (or Guetta) show would be a small quaint venue, instead of the massive show that premiered. However, don't they realize that Banksy and Shepard Fairey are the biggest artists today, and by listing a show on their websites would create a big following? Vanity Fair did a follow up question to Shepard Fairey on his endorsement: “You know,” he explains, “I was pretty much blackmailed into doing that, otherwise I’d never get the video footage of the last 10 years of my life back from the guy.”

Would Banksy really let someone film him putting up his work and let that person keep the tapes?
I question this motive, since Banksy is known for being unknown and keeping his identity secret. Guetta is almost a complete stranger to Banksy when they meet.

Would an unknown, artist, with no work that the world has ever seen be able to budget a gallery opening on that scale?

Unless he is rich, which in the film, he isn't. The film states that he bankrolled his entire savings into that one show. I mean, would his wife, your wife, allow you to do that without a single person in the world seeing your work?

Can MBW art be taken seriously?
It's just a rip on Andy Warhol... there's no unique style, nothing. Maybe this was an experiment. But apparently his art has been taken seriously, as MBW went on to do the cover of Madonna's greatest hit's album... and of course those prints selling hundreds of thousands each.
"Warhol repeated iconic images until they became meaningless, but there was still something iconic about them. Thierry really makes them meaningless." - Banksy

Can someone as aloof and idiotic as Guetta outsmart and outgross Banksy and Shepard Fairey?

Perhaps, idiot savant? Fluke?
"Maybe there’s something to be learned from it. Maybe it means that art is sort of a joke.” - Banksy referring to MBW's million dollar success.
Perhaps this film is one big joke from mastermind Banksy.

Banksy's interview seems a bit rehearsed.
Yes, it probably is, since it is an interview for a film. Documentaries usually interview more than one take. But Banksy's interview does come across a little different.

Is that even Banksy in the film?
I don't know.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Shepard Fairey responds about the supposed MBW hoax: “I swear to god that’s not the case,” he said. “Banksy may not want me to say that but no, it’s not.”

If Banksy and Shepard Fairey created MBW, then at the end of the film they pretty much discredit him.

"Yeah, I was faced with that terrible thing, when somebody shows you their work and everything about it is shit... so... you don't really know where to start. " - Banksy
I mean with a quote like that, people may be haste to realize that MBW's art really is crap and people will stop pursuing MBW and Banksy and Fairey can end their experiment, stop wasting their energy on creating a fake artist. Or maybe MBW is real and they want his work acknowledged to be crap.

So do you think Exit Through the Gift Shop is real or fake?

Vanity Fair Article
Truth Behind the Film

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just watched this documentary on Singapore airlines and enjoyed it quite a lot.

Your commentary about it being fake or not is interesting and thought provoking. The quote you use from Banksy where he says that "... the work is shit ..." is referring to MBWs first attempt at film-making as opposed to MBWs attempts at being an artist though.