Monday, January 24, 2011

Exit through the gift shop.

This film asks so many vital questions to how we view and value modern art, without sounding like an art snob. It starts as a documentary about street arts, then turns its focus onto Thierry Guetta who shot all the street art footage of this film. It is a real treat for someone who doesn't know any street artists to wittiness these amazing images taking over the public space without being caught by the police (well most of the time). It's like watching a well planned heist movie, only this is real. Then when these guys become famous in the galleries and trendy media, Theirry turns his obsession in filming to making arts. He devotes himself and his life savings into makings hundreds of paintings, silkscreens and sculptures. And maybe because Theirry's relentless attempts to hype up the media worked, or maybe because Theirry's art is really that great, his first self financed art show is a huge success and he is still doing well as an artist.

Theirry Guetta seems to makes similar "art" as banksy does. But when I do like Banksy's "art", I don't like Theirry's "art" at all. And I wondered why I feel so sure of Theirry's work being inferior to some of the other street artist's works. Is it because this documentary shows how ridiculously full of himself and shallow Theirry is? If I know the artist in person, or if I didn't know him at all, would that affect how I view his art dramatically? This isn't just the case of Theirry's work. Half of the modern art that I see in the galleries these days makes me wonder why they are even in the galleries. So many times, I want to ask the curators why they have chosen these works over hundreds of other art out there.

I guess Banksy and Andy Warhol came before Theirry, but they aren't so original either. Modern artists often borrow styles and make jokes on other arts and trends that there's no truly original art anymore. So why do I find one satire more meaningful than the other?

Who and what determines which art is good or bad? Is it whether the art is in the museum or in the streets? Is it the motivation behind the art? Is it how much people would pay to own it? If the art is well received by majority of people, does it validate its greatness? It could be combination of so many different things, and it could also be that none of these matters. In the current era when there are so many people telling you what is good and what is cool, it is even harder for people to spot something that is truly great.

I had so much fun watching this film and highly recommend it to all artists, artist wannabes or just anyone who appreciates art. But I feel like this film can entertain anyone, even if they aren't interested in art or trends at all.

1 comment:

  1. A big part of the draw of this film has been the controversy about whether Thierry even exists. Or rather if this whole film is an elaborate fraud perpetrated by Banksy. Thusly underlining it's points about authenticity by calling into question it's own.
    Banksy will mess with your head, that's what he does.