Media That Matters: Exit Through The Gift Shop

If you haven't heard of Banksy (really?), he is an anonymous British artist known for his socially and politically charged street art. In 2010 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people. "Banksy paints over the line between aesthetics and language, then stealthily repaints it in the unlikeliest of places. His works, whether he stencils them on the streets, sells them in exhibitions or hangs them in museums on the sly, are filled with wit and metaphors that transcend language barriers," said fellow street artist Shepard Fairey. His work sells for millions of dollars and has appeared all over the world. Quite the provocateur, in 2018 one of his pieces sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s auction house in London... but as soon as the gavel struck the piece of art promptly started sounding an alarm and shredded itself.

His Academy Award-nominated documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop is a fascinating take at what constitutes art and the value placed on it in the marketplace. It features many of the most famous street artists and depicts the rise of anti-establishment vandals into the most prestigious echelons of the art world where it became commodified. The film focuses on an eccentric French man named Thierry Guetta, obsessed with meeting and videotaping street artists. Instead of finding Banksy, Banksy found him and created this provocative documentary. As Banksy describes it, "It's basically the story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed!"

Is this a true story? Maybe; or it just might be another one of Banksy's stunts. Either way, it is highly captivating and worth the watch.