Banksy – Exit Through The Gift Shop

Have you seen it? Have you discussed it to death yet?

If not, read on.

First off, if you have no idea what I am even talking about, Banksy is a famous street artist, perhaps on the most famous in the world – to the point where he is so imitated that we had no idea if the walls we saw in Ireland were by him, or an impostor.

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We heard about Banksy years ago from our Irish neighbor, who gave us the 2005 book about Banky: “Wall and Piece,” and had us on the lookout for him when we were in Europe.

Many more people have recently been exposed to Banksy via his film, “Exit Through The Gift Shop.” A film that did 3 million at the box office, but exploded thereafter.


Because, not only is it an entertaining, intimate look at street art – the question has been raised – is it a documentary at all? Was the whole thing orchestrated by Banksy himself as a huge joke?

QUICK RECAP: Theirry Guetta is obsessed with street artists, films their every waking moment, blipping through them like tic-tacs, then he finally gets the ungettable, Banksy, films him, and Banksy wonders what this idiot is up to. Theirry makes a film, it’s crap, Banksy takes over, tells Theirry to go be a street artist, and all of a sudden, “Mister Brainwash” is a the biggest sensation of all time in the art world. The end.

Or is it?

That is when the buzz started. Blog posts. Newspaper articles. One as late as this week from the New York Times that wonders whether a credit dispute over Theirry’s original crap legitimizes the film, just in time for all the Oscar buzz it’s garnering.

My opinion? And the opinion of my Irish neighbor?

That the film is real. Right up until Banksy takes over the footage. THEN he sees the potential to turn it on its ear. It needed an ending. It needed a point.

It needed all of us talking about it for years.

This article has 8 comments

  1. Megan

    I totally thought it was fake! No way Theirry was real!!! LOL!!

  2. AlliG

    LOVED the movie. But I didn’t think the the ending was orchestrated because it needed an ending. I think the ending (and the inevitable discussion it would create–what’s art, was the ending real or created, etc) was the whole point of the documentary in the first place. It was the Banksy’s latest piece of art.

  3. The Casual Perfectionist

    That’s funny! We watched it and didn’t even think about whether or not it was real…but it did open up the discussion about what makes you an “artist” vs “someone who can just spray-paint a print someone else actually created.” 😉

  4. EatPlayLove

    I haven’t seen it! I have an old friend from NY that is a very well known street artist. I adore the fresh perspective.

  5. Anonymous

    i recently saw it and ended it just saying, ‘hmm’. i wasn’t sure what else to say. but thinking about it, it was a pretty good film.

  6. Mommy Ink Well

    I loved the film. I thought it was a pretty honest account of street art and Banksy’s genuine displeasure with the commercialization of art. Theirry was so outrageous I thought he had to be real. Hmm, now I’ll have to watch it again.

  7. Anonymous

    This makes me want to see it! interesting! – m

  8. Adventures In Babywearing

    I could probably discuss it for hours. I just don’t know… I do love the footage and can see how- no matter if the end is real or not- Thierry’s art was just pieces and copies of everyone else, I don’t think he was capable of realizing what he was creating was not even his own art… he was so obsessed with the other street artists that he just recycled their ideas and people paid a crazy amount of money for it. If that part is true.


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