Sunday, May 9, 2010

Film/Art: Banksy's "Exit Through the Gift Shop"

If you are already a fan of the artist known as Banksy, then you have no doubt heard of his new film "Exit Through the Gift Shop". But the question remains: Is it real? The film itself was a sensation at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, he called a news conference, only to cancel it at the last minute and show a video, in which he appears in shadows (true to form), cloaked in a hoodie and with his voice disguised, as he does in the film, to vouch for its veracity. The thing is, both Banksy and Mr. Guetta (the lead subject) are pretty unreliable narrators, and the immediate thought was that Mr. Guetta either didn’t exist at all, that he was in cahoots with Banksy or that he was Banksy himself. Even aficionados of the scene were unsure what to think. As one street-art-enthusiast observer noted: “It is one of these cases where Banksy has found in his art that truth is stranger than the best fiction you can imagine.”


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