Writing for Slate, critic Ben David investigates the possibility that Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop may have been a “poisoned valentine” to the global movement known as Street Art.
Lotus Johnson left this illuminating comment on Alison Young’s post “Art, Value & Banksy’s Rats in Melbourne,” which included an illustration of a stencil depicting a native Australian flower stabbing a Banksy signature animal, the rat. Turns out there’s more than meets the eye.
It seems that Melbourne City Council just can’t get it right when it comes to street art, and especially when it comes to the work of Banksy: two weeks ago, they “accidentally” ordered a cleaning crew to remove one of Banksy’s iconic rats from a wall in Hosier Lane, in the centre of the city. The news of this rodent’s demise was greeted by a storm of media criticism.
Street art enthusiasts seem to have a thing for destructive fanaticism, but I’m not sure they realize how destructive it can be. They exuberantly consume the latest street artworks like hungry piranhas, hyping the artist and his products until there’s nothing left but an embarrassing skeleton. They get inexplicably ramped up about artists who have produced one provocative wheatpaste or had a single clever idea.
At times, the blogosphere can feel like a miniaturized version of academia. With so many voices competing over authority and pulling readers this way and that, fights are bound to break out. Just like any serious punditry, bloggers have healthy disagreements over what they cover as well as how they cover it — the etiquette of the developing world of online media. The recent spat between online art world figures Marc Schiller and Paddy Johnson is a perfect case study.
As a film, Exit Through the Gift Shop is funny, interesting, and quirky, but you don’t walk away feeling like you experienced a film as much as a really long DIY online video. Some parts are very compelling, and there are some real laughs, but the movie often drags, making you wish you could fast forward to the good parts.
This week, Banky’s new film Exit Through the Gift Shop will hit theaters in North America. For complete listings, visit Wooster Collective, which seems to be the official PR agency for all things Banksy. The movie premiere’s today in Los Angeles, so it’s no coincidence that these images hit the intertubes this past week to turn up the hype around his film.