Documentary Alert: Art vs. Art
The 2011 Oscar nominated documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop is about more than graffiti.
The film chronicles eccentric Los Angeles based French shopkeeper Thierry Guetta and his obsession with videotaping everything around him. This fascination leads him to filming one street artist, which leads to filming more street artists, and he ends up finding the secretive Banksy (a well known “commercial artist” of the underground street art culture who doesn’t reveal his identity) and ends up following him across the globe, filming his every move. After a decade of touring the globe filming street artists, Thierry becomes Mr. Brainwash, creating art of his own, which is a bit of an insane slap in the face to the street art world. A decade of videotapes chronicling the scene, with no end goal in mind, leaves Banksy with a desire to properly put Thierry's tapes to use, to display an important part in the history of street art culture. The cameras get turned to face Thierry and Exit Through The Gift Shop was born. The film is a provocative display of graffiti vs. art, honesty vs. selling out, and displays some fabulous street art in the process. Then of course there's the theory that perhaps this was all a hoax put on by Banksy . You decide.
When Banksy was nominated for the Academy Award there was a bit of a fuss since he doesn’t show his face in public and has been known to wear a monkey mask at rare public appearances. Inside Job won for Best Documentary, so the Academy was spared what may or may not have happened if he had won.