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  • Exit Through the Gift Shop

     Exit Through the Gift Shop is now available on dvd in the UK and Canada with a US release date of 12/14.  It has also been short listed as a possible Oscar nominated documentary for 2010.

    On a recent trip to Toronto (see articles – Travelogue: Toronto), I saw the film Exit Through the Gift Shop, billed as a documentary and “The world’s first Street Art Disaster Film”.

    Bansky, Exit Through the Gift Shop

    Bansky, Exit Through the Gift Shop

    My first thoughts after seeing the film was how unexpectedly entertaining it was.  It was also refreshing to see how simple, direct, cheap and effective Street Art is as an art form.   It’s a far cry from being simple graffiti or public vandalism.  It has become an effective vehicle for certain savvy artists to get their images – and message – directly in front of large, public audiences while circumventing the gallery/museum machinery.

    An obvious message  from the film is how highly commercialized the art world has become.  (The title is the dead-give-away referring to the signage used at museums exhibiting large block-buster art spectacles with souvenirs marketed to the public like Happy Meals.)  Art and money – an eternal necessary evil, I suppose.  Be that as it may, contemporary art as commodity turns out to be one of the major themes deftly skewered in this film.

    It is purportedly a documentary about the street art movement and purportedly made by premiere UK street artist, Banksy.  I say this because some believe this film is, in fact, another artistic prank perpetrated by Banksy on the unsuspecting public.  Whatever the truth is, it really doesn’t matter.  It’s informative, provocative and entertaining on many different levels.  So, if we are being “punked” by Banksy – that’s just fine with me.  I hope as many people see this film as possible.  It sheds light on the mysterious world of the street artist and also pokes fun at how dysfunctional art presentation and distribution actually can be.  It begins with Banksy sitting hooded and silhouetted as he explains how the film was started and how it’s trajectory changed dramatically along the way.  (continued in Film / Media)

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