Exit Through the Gift Shop


Written by Johny Chhetri
13 Monday 13th September 2010


In the early 21st Century, a chaotic brew of self-expression known as Street Art exploded onto our, well, streets. Luckily, there was some French guy to film it. LA vintage clothes shop owner Thierry Guetta was that man, and after filming numerous street art activities he finally set out to making the finest (and probably only) street art documentary ever made. Unfortunately that was shite and Banksy was on hand to fix shit up.
Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop came out on DVD recently and we got our hands on a copy of this mindfuckingly brilliant/audacious film/documentary about street art/selling out/fucking with your mind royally. The first half is a lovely look into Thierry Guetta (aka ‘Mr. Brainwash’) and his obsession for filming street artists such as Invader (who is his cousin), Shepard Fairey (who’s doing a poster for our Wild Fantasies exhibition) and the ever-elusive Banksy himself.
We see one man’s passion for filming everything taking a turn for what seems to be the best with him filming some cool shit such as unearthing his cousin Invader, seeing Shepard Fairey and Banksy in action as well as the infamous Disneyland stunt. To fans of music documentaries (such as myself) it’s kind of like seeing some rare live footage of bands who existed before the internet ever did.
The second half of ETTGS (That’s Exit Through the Gift Shop for short) takes us into the birth of Mr.Brainwash, the brainchild (if you will) of Thierry Guetta. After hanging around with the street artists Guetta developed a taste for producing his own art, sold off his shop and started producing stuff at a commercial rate, in layman’s terms: he sold out and fucked all his friends off. He later goes on to running one of the smartest promo campaigns for his annoyingly successful exhibition in which he claims to have hit the million dollar mark.

There is a raging (mass) debate about whether the film is bollocks or not. I have a raging suspicion that it is a bit of a hoax, but I’ve not done enough research into it to garner a strong argument for it (it is pretty strong though, just not an overpowering one, I want an overpowering argument!). But if it is truly fake (like what I did there?) then well done to you street art world, and if it isn’t, well done to you Mr. Brainwash, well-fucking-done.


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  • Guest: gurao
    Thu 30 - Sep - 2010, 14:42
    Good review! Gurao
  • Guest: leftycrookfingers
    Fri 24 - Sep - 2010, 09:15
    "ETTGS (That’s Exit Through the Gift Shop for short)" Why would you do this the last time you mention the film's name in the article?