Deciphering the Nomination of Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop

Street art just got serious.  Or at least academy serious. With this morning’s announcement that renown street artist Banksy’s turntable documentary on the ascent to fame of artist Mr. Brainwash made the top 5 nominations for the Academy Award in Best Documentary.  Banksy responded to the nomination with his ever present cheeky charm:

The fact was, it was never much of a surprise. Don’t take our word for it though, check it out on Hulu. The film is a work of art in itself and focuses on the ever-expanding world of street art as seen through the eyes of French street artist and camera addict Thierry “Mr. Brainwash” Guetta  and later Banksy himself. The documentary is fascinating as it delves into the unseen happenings behind the street murals the public sees around them.

However, I won’t bore you with a flashy pump up of the film, the documentary is award worthy, that’s a given. But the message behind it is even more pivoting. Exit begins with Banksy, ever hidden behind the veil of secrecy recounts how the film was created with a carefully placed comment:

“It’s not Gone With The Wind but there is probably a moral in there somewhere.” -Banksy

That was the first clue that lead us to the conclusion that Exit isn’t your run of the mill documentary. Exit is an artistic statement. Banksy is not one to simply throw paint on walls without meaning and he isn’t about to break character when it comes to film making. Throughout the film the audience is suppose to believe that a slightly delusional cameraman can, under the “push” of his idol, pick up the brush, or rather spray can, and in a matter of weeks sell his work for the tens of thousands.

Now granted, this could be a once in the million story and actually be that fantastic. However, reality tends to show that usually when celebrities such as Banksy are involved in what turns out to be an extraordinary story there is usually some “foul play”. The signs in the documentary all point to it.

That is not to say Exit is a work of Fiction but rather  a work of living art. Theirry Guetta is most likely an imaginary character, a pseudonym. The fact that a man who sells vintage T-Shirts for a living can finance trips across the world to film street artists is questionable, the fact that the same man can then finance an around the clock full-time staff and art exhibition is just unreal. The narrator is careful to hint to the audience repeatedly that Guetta refinanced his house to pay for it all but in reality at the most that is around $400k, hardly the amount to rent an old CBS studio, let alone staff.

So that brings the viewer to the conclusion that Guetta is somehow associated closely with Banksy. Rumors have it that Guetta is actually Banksy, if that was true Banksy should be nominated for Best Actor by accent alone. I speak fluent French, and I can’t get near to his authenticity. Rather it is most probable that Banksy is using this documentary to send the art world a message or as he puts it, a moral. In the recent years we’ve seen an over inflation in the realm of street art auctioning that has sold in the high 100 thousands. Banksy sums up the art world’s opinion eloquently:

“I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit.” -Banksy

Thus one may draw the conclusion that Banksy is making a mockery to the art world that anyone, including a slightly off edge film addict with the proper artistic endorsements, can make an impact in the financial art world .

“Maybe Theirry was a genius all along, maybe he got a bit lucky, maybe it means art is a bit of a joke .” -Banksy

If this is true it means that Banksy has reached a new height of artistry, he is now that of a critic. No longer is he focusing on capitalism but rather art itself. The only question is what’s next? Mr. Brainwash has the answer for that:

“In time, you’ll see if I’m a real artist or not.” – Theirry “Mr. Brainwash” Guetta.

Time may not bring light to this story but the for street art, the options are limitless.