Exit Through the Gift Shop
Starring: Thierry Guetta, Bansky
Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary following the world of street art and the graffiti artists that make up this culture. Thierry Guetta is a simple man. He's obsessed with filming all aspects of his life. He gets the idea to start following street artists and document their undercover approach to making art on public buildings.
Thierry Guetta meets and follows several artists like Invader, Shepard Fairey, and Borf. The more he follows these artists around the more intrigued by these individuals he is. He learns about Bansky and is destined to meet him. He has no idea about how to contact him or how to film him though. Bansky is a very secretive, seclusive British artist. Even though he is featured in the documentary, his image is blackd out and his voice is modified. Bansky arrives in L.A. to start an exhibition. Thierry meets up with Bansky through Fairey, and they form a bond together. Bansky agrees to let Thierry document his road to opening an exhibition under strict guidance. After the exhibition opens, Banksy asks Thierry to make a movie out of all of the footage that was shot.
SPOILER ALERT!!! Bansky is less than impressed with the movie Thierry ends up making. It is amateur at best due to the fact that Thierry really had no intention of ever making a movie out of the footage. Bansky turns the tables on Thierry. Bansky tells Thierry to try street art and that Bansky will document that journey.
The rest of the movie follows Thierry and his road to opening a massively popular exhibition making tons of money. Thierry was never an artist. He never took classes or spent time making art. He opens his first exhibition to over four thousand people and makes millions selling his art.
The movie succeeds at many levels. Documentaries can either tell you all of the facts and tell you the opinion you should be feeling. Other documentaries give you the information and let the viewer have their own opinion about it. Exit Through the Gift Shop is that kind of documentary There are theories that Thierry's exhibition was a huge hoax. Could one person randomly decide to create art, open an exhibit, and have the success that Thierry randomly had? Was the movie a ruse of Bansky as part of a bigger piece of art? What is art? Is art really in the eye of the beholder?