Is it an elephant in the gift shop or an exit through the gift shop. Its fitting that Banksy’s movie is about “shop” and the irony is that this much embraced “modernism” is built on buzz and hype and its aestehtic appeal is dubious and not really durable. Its art that is completely at the service of the entertainment industry: a form without content, or a synthetic content that evokes neither rebellion or revival.
The final deadline for the Oscar poll was yesterday and Banksy is nominated in the documentary category. “Banksy cares very much about selling art and what people think of him,” Mr. Fairey said, “and he understands thoroughly that people’s fantasy is a far better marketing tool than reality.” Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/movies/14banksy.html?_r=1 Which means low on the artistic integrity scale. In terms of design and even context, Banksy’s work is pretty run-of-the-mill. He reminds me of Art Spiegelman as middling, average and palpable but nothing particularly biting and profound. The secret of juxtaposition of opposites in this type of design work is not apparent.
Banksy’s work is based on slick, impersonal, marketable stereotypes ; his contexts, even the West Bank becomes symbolized into an entertaining paradise: a perverse paradise, no doubt, but still a paradise or oasis of life even if emotionally costly. Its superficial cultural jamming. In the absence of critical corrosiveness, acidity and sting, Banksy’s work can be regarded as fashionable mannequins on a commercial and corporate stage, however artificially, they resemble free spirits; they are well within the bounds of social respectability. In its own way, Banksy is reactionary and conservative.
Ultimately, wondering whether “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is authentic or not may be missing the boat. It poses questions about the relation between money and aesthetics. Specifically, what it means to be an underground celebrity in a culture built on avoiding the mainstream; and a reflection on the sad fashion the taste makers monetize that culture and remove its fangs. There is something a bit cagey about how quickly the John and Jane Q. Publics were to buy into the concept of graffiti as a major spectacle. Maybe its all about hyping banksy as “Our Man in Havana” . Maybe his movie is just a comment on publicity and mediatization. Or whether this culture jamming, this “speaking truth to power” is actually a submission to authority and encourages the expansion of the activities ostensibly being protested against.
Asked whether a film that takes shots at the commercialization of street art would devalue his own work, Banksy wrote: “It seemed fitting that a film questioning the art world was paid for with proceeds directly from the art world. Maybe it should have been called ‘Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You.’ ” Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/movies/14banksy.html?_r=1
Quotation has mediation as its essence, if not its primary concern, and any claims for objectivity or accuracy are in relation to representations of representations, not representations of truth. —MARTHA ROSLER … A work that does not dominate reality and that does not allow the public to dominate it is not a work of art. —BERTOLT BRECHT… A certain contempt for the material employed to express an idea is indispensible to the purist realization of this idea. —MAN RAY… The intention of the artist must therefore be to unsettle conventional thought from within, to cast doubt on the normalized perception of the “natural” by destabilizing the means used to represent it. …—TOM LAWSON Distanciation is this: going all the way in the representation to the point where the meaning is no longer the truth of the actor but the political relation of the situation. … —ROLAND BARTHES …All art is “image making” and all image making is the creation of substitutes. —E.H. GOMBRICH … In a world which is topsyp-turvy, the true is a moment of false. —GUY DEBORD Read More: http://bombsite.com/issues/5/articles/226 a
Speculation is rampant that “Exit Through the Gift Shop” may in fact be a hoax — that is to say, a faux-documentary in which all is not as it appears. But apparently, this has not bothered the nominating voters of the academy’s documentary branch. The movie is also nominated for a BAFTA award in the category of outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.
The film, which opens on Friday in New York and California, follows Thierry Guetta, an amiable Frenchman who lives in Los Angeles and videotapes everything — or so we’re told. When Mr. Guetta and camera eventually tunnel into the world of street art — he was introduced to the scene through a cousin, the Parisian artist Space Invader — his enthusiastic recording melds nicely with the artists’ desire to have their otherwise ephemeral work documented. He captures that scene’s luminaries, like Shepard Fairey and Swoon working on rooftops and in alleys under cover of night.
It seems to be a natural fit for a documentary. But Mr. Guetta’s nonstop footage turns out to be unwatched (he has boxes and boxes of unlabeled tapes) and even when he cobbles something together after years of shooting, largely unwatchable. “He was maybe just somebody with mental problems who happened to have a camera,” Banksy says in the film.
So Banksy decides to take control of the material himself — or so we’re told. Robbed of his camera and prodded by Banksy, Mr. Guetta, meanwhile, morphs into a street artist, inventing an alter ego called Mr. Brainwash and staging an opening exhibition in Los Angeles that turns him into an overnight sensation, all of which is captured in “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/movies/14banksy.html?_r=1
Guy Debord:The reigning economic system is a vicious circle of isolation. Its technologies are based on isolation, and they contribute to that same isolation. From automobiles to television, the goods that the spectacular system chooses to produce also serve it as weapons for constantly reinforcing the conditions that engender “lonely crowds.” With ever-increasing concreteness the spectacle recreates its own presuppositions. …
…The spectacle was born from the world’s loss of unity, and the immense expansion of the modern spectacle reveals the enormity of this loss. The abstractifying of all individual labor and the general abstractness of what is produced are perfectly reflected in the spectacle, whose manner of being concrete is precisely abstraction. In the spectacle, a part of the world presents itself to the world and is superior to it. The spectacle is simply the common language of this separation. Spectators are linked solely by their one-way relationship to the very center that keeps them isolated from each other. The spectacle thus reunites the separated, but it reunites them only in their separateness.( Societe de Spectacle) Read More: http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord/1.htm a