That’s the question everyone is asking. “Exit” was a Sundance hit, and is big among avid followers of the art world. Now that it’s getting wider distribution, including in Hartford,where is being screened Friday at Real Art Ways.
“Exit Through the Gift Shop” has been called a fascinating and entertaining glimpse into the world of high-level and socially conscious graffiti artists. The film doesn’t carry his name in the credits, but it later came out that it was made by Banksy, a British graffiti artist who is internationally famous but has never been seen publicly. No one knows his real name. Well, not no one. It’s not public knowledge, let’s say.
The film starts out as a documentary about internationally renowned graffiti artists, including Shepard Fairey in the U.S., and Banksy, whose illegal art has made it to the walls of the Big Easy, post-Katrina, and daringly, on the separation barrier along the Palestinian West Bank. These photos show Bansky’s work in more everyday locales.
But when Banksy turns the tables on the documentary maker, a French shop keeper with an ambition to film Bansky, to become an artist himself, and so he does — becoming a monstrous creation known as Mr. Brainwash, introduced by a big-budget, splashy L.A. exhibit. Many believe that Mr. Brainwash is himself an invention and that the French shop keeper is really Banksy.
Critics agree that this is a terrific film. Will its influence spread? Somehow it might, if only because of his artwork itself, so appealing and yet so accessible — in every possible way.
Here’s more on this YouTube clip: