Is it an elephant in the gift shop or an exit through the gift shop. Its fitting that Banksy’s movie is about “shop” and the irony is that this much embraced “modernism” is built on buzz and hype and its aestehtic appeal is dubious and not really durable. Its art that is completely at the service of the entertainment industry: a form without content, or a synthetic content that evokes neither rebellion or revival.
The final deadline for the Oscar poll was yesterday and Banksy is nominated in the documentary category. “Banksy cares very much about selling art and what people think of him,” Mr. Fairey said, “and he understands thoroughly that people’s fantasy is a far better marketing tool than reality.” Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/movies/14banksy.html?_r=1 Which means low on the artistic integrity scale. In terms of design and even context, Banksy’s work is pretty run-of-the-mill. He reminds me of Art Spiegelman as middling, average and palpable but nothing particularly biting and profound. The secret of juxtaposition of opposites in this type of design work is not apparent.
Banksy’s work is based on slick, impersonal, marketable stereotypes ; his contexts, even the West Bank becomes symbolized into an entertaining paradise: a perverse paradise, no doubt, but still a paradise or oasis of life even if emotionally costly. Its superficial cultural jamming. In the absence of critical corrosiveness, acidity and sting, Banksy’s work can be regarded as fashionable mannequins on a commercial and corporate stage, however artificially, they resemble free spirits; they are well within the bounds of social respectability. In its own way, Banksy is reactionary and conservative.
Ultimately, wondering whether “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is authentic or not may be missing the boat. It poses questions about the relation between money and aesthetics. Specifically, what it means to be an underground celebrity in a culture built on avoiding the mainstream; and a reflection on the sad fashion the taste makers monetize that culture and remove its fangs. There is something a bit cagey about how quickly the John and Jane Q. Publics were to buy into the concept of graffiti as a major spectacle. Maybe its all about hyping banksy as “Our Man in Havana” . Maybe his movie is just a comment on publicity and mediatization. Or whether this culture jamming, this “speaking truth to power” is actually a submission to authority and encourages the expansion of the activities ostensibly being protested against.
Asked whether a film that takes shots at the commercialization of street art would devalue his own work, Banksy wrote: “It seemed fitting that a film questioning the art world was paid for with proceeds directly from the art world. Maybe it should have been called ‘Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You.’ ” Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/movies/14banksy.html?_r=1
Quotation has mediation as its essence, if not its primary concern, and any claims for objectivity or accuracy are in relation to representations of representations, not representations of truth. —MARTHA ROSLER … A work that does not dominate reality and that does not allow the public to dominate it is not a work of art. —BERTOLT BRECHT… A certain contempt for the material employed to express an idea is indispensible to the purist realization of this idea. —MAN RAY… The intention of the artist must therefore be to unsettle conventional thought from within, to cast doubt on the normalized perception of the “natural” by destabilizing the means used to represent it. …—TOM LAWSON Distanciation is this: going all the way in the representation to the point where the meaning is no longer the truth of the actor but the political relation of the situation. … —ROLAND BARTHES …All art is “image making” and all image making is the creation of substitutes. —E.H. GOMBRICH … In a world which is topsyp-turvy, the true is a moment of false. —GUY DEBORD Read More: http://bombsite.com/issues/5/articles/226 a