LA///HYPE 2.0///”MR BRAINWASH” KILLS HOLLYWOOD’S FEW REMAINING BRAIN CELLS…
To call last nite's opening of newly minted and ridiculously named "artist" MR BRAINWASH an "art show" would be a disservice to artists everywhere and even Mr Brainwash himself. Instead, let's call it what it really is: a grand art prank of epic proportions. A heist. A spoof. A joke. Or maybe just the biggest, funnest, sloppiest high school art fair of all time. But let's not call it an "art show." Unfortunately, the majority of the Hollywood zombies lined up around the block for the better part of four hours awaiting entrance didn't quite get the joke. Neither did the faceless minions who quietly bought into the affair during the preceding weeks for a reported—but completely unverified—total of $500K as of opening nite after reading the recent LA Weekly cover story hyping the event. And, apparently, neither did Mr Brainwash who is taking this all very, very seriously. And who is this alleged artist we’ve never heard of till now? If you had asked Frenchman THEIRRY GUETTA eight years ago about his chosen profession, the answer would have surely been "cameraman." After following pioneering street art legends like Banksy and Shepard Fairey around, camera in hand, shooting hundreds of hours of footage, however, the lure of cheap & easy fame began to eat away at him. The desire to mint an original style proved more elusive. It all began several years ago with a series of uninspiring wheatpaste posters in the style of nearly every stencil artist that came before him depicting Guetta, with trademark facial hair and fedora, holding a camera, fused to the walls of Hollywood’s most heavily trafficked corridors. Further inspired by the success of Banksy's self-produced "Barely Legal" solo show in 2006 (and with the encouragement of Sir Banks himself—possibly his biggest art prank on us all to date?), and having established sufficient “street cred,” Guetta began to plot his own ascent. The result is the exhibition in question, titled "Life is Beautiful" that currently occupies the formerly vacant CBS Studios on Sunset Blvd. Unfortunately for us all, instead of using Bansky's example as an inspiration for an original show, Mr Brainwash has replicated the Bristol Bad Boy’s fete in relative scale and concept, but without a trace of originality. Which is not to say that Guetta lacks vision. The concept of renting out the staggeringly large and formerly vacant (it will be razed in coming months to make way for LA’s biggest skyscraper) building for a homegrown art show is a brilliant move. Handling it all himself sans gallery, even moreso. But what Guetta has chosen to fill the studio with amounts to the canon of Pop Art fed through the blender of street art and rendered verbatim in the style of the genre’s top earners in nearly every conceivable medium from sculpture to paintings. Which in theory, should make it an incredible work of parody, if not for Mr Brainwash’s steadfast assertion that what he has created is indeed art. “For ten years I’ve been creating real artwork and never with a show,” explains the artist. “I never did it to make money, and I’m still not. This is a gift to Los Angeles. I’m sharing this experience with everyone.” The result is indeed visually stunning with giant Claes Oldenburg style sculptures greeting his fans in the building’s courtyard who are in turn awed by the cavernous and sloppy wonderland of imagery that awaits them inside. In the words of one of LA’s most pioneering street art provocateurs, Skullphone, “if Disneyland wanted to open a street art ride, this is what they’d have done.” Warhol, Banksy, and nearly every other major Pop artist conceivable are ripped off wholesale in these works which incorporate the style of humor implicit in Banksy’s best designs but without the artist’s biting irony and dry English wit. Instead, what Mr Brainwash (or more accurately, his army of assistants) has created is a vast array of straightforward sight gags that never fail to amuse, but never quite hit the satirical homeruns of his mentor. The sloppiness of the entire affair and DIY spirit are its most redeeming qualities, and it will surely be the biggest show LA will see all year. It’s just too bad it wasn’t intentionally the most astutely satirical one too, aimed at taking the inflated, overpaid, and hyper-serious world of street art down a notch. That would have made it truly brilliant. HAVE A LOOK:
- 04/13/2014 • STREET LIFE | NEW WORK BY BANKSY IN CHELTENHAM, UK
- 03/13/2014 • STREET LIFE: BANKSY SHOWS SUPPORT FOR #WITHSYRIA RELIEF CAMPAIGN THROUGH ARTWORK & ANIMATION
- 03/29/2013 • TODD JAMES’ WORLD DOMINATION AT LAZARIDES GALLERY LONDON
- 03/02/2010 • WTF?!? FILES///THE WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTS ON BANKSY VS. ROBBO GRAFFITI BATTLE
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