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Label: exit throug the gift shop

Friday 21st March 2014Inspiration Station: Exit Through the Gift Shop

As we mentioned in our previous post, street has come an incredibly long way towards being accepted, albeit somewhat paradoxically, as part of the mainstream art world. Despite being forged in the underground (often literally - take a look at a New York City subway train next time you happen to be in town), it has recently begun to blossom into psychedelically coloured gallery spaces throughout much of the art world, and even reaching film festivals, as we'll see in Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film.
 
Click here to watch the trailer on Youtube.
 
One of the most celebrated art documentaries in recent years, Exit Through the Gift Shop debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 to excellent critical reception. The first feature-length film by the only street artist most people can name, Exit Through the Gift Shop rapidly expanded in fame and prominence. It details the story of a videography-obsessed store owner who happens to be related to an extremely famous street artist who goes by the name 'Space Invader'. Visiting home in France, he films his cousin at work and the work itself, and eventually reaches out to Shepard Fairey, the American street artist, and the two travel across the United States filming a huge variety of work. Eventually, they meet up with Banksy, they put on a show, and all sorts of excellent hijinks ensue that we won't spoil for you here.
 
The film itself, narrated by Rhys Ifans, is a true joy to watch, and sticks with you for quite some time after the credits roll. Amusingly enough, the real Banksy is slightly less than willing to come right out and say how much of the film (if any) is actually true documentary, or whether the entire thing is actually what's known as a mockumentary (think "This is Spinal Tap"). Considering the sly gutter smirk that barely hides behind every piece of work Banksy has ever done, it's not hard to imagine that the entire film is an elaborate joke being played by an artist who doesn't truly feel - and doesn't want to feel - a part of the more "traditional" artistic community.

The only way to decide for yourself, of course, is to see the film. No matter what you wind up believing (believe that Banksy isn't going to drawn out to say one way or the other), there is something truly inspiring about the types of work that Banksy does, and you may find yourself even more eager than usual to get back into the studio (or the street corner) after you finish watching. Enjoy!

Posted on March 21st 2014 on 11:24pm
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