Mar 27, 2011

Art collecting is for suckers

So today I saw "Exit Through the Gift Shop." An excellent documentary film by all standards. The official WAS review was posted a while back, so I'll be brief in my assessment. Among the highlights:

1 - Artists vs. Art Lovers. In this film, street artist extraordinaire Banksy exposes "filmmaker" Thierry as a fraud, a poseur who buys his way into the contemporary art scene by riding on the coattails of real street artists. The thing is, Thierry manages to hustle Hollywood's elite art collectors, selling his work for millions. Which begs the question, Who's the biggest douche: the fake artist or the snobs that value his work?

2 - What is Art? This age-old question will never be answered, but Exit does posit an interesting view. The film suggests that "good" art is dangerous, subversive in its purpose and unifying in its message. History's great artists (take your pick) became great precisely because they defied conventions and had something to say. From the Renaissance Men who sprinkled their works with jabs at the Church and Picasso's socio-politcal statements, to Warhol's deconstruction of the art world, the thirst to shake things up has always fueled great minds.

As we see in the film, this all goes to shit when a Desperate Housewife of Beverly Hills has Warhol's "Mao"... somewhere in her closet.


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