Bull in the China Shop – Mr. Brainwash in Los Angeles
Happy New Year TruffleHunters! As the year came to a close, my curiosity got the better of me and I made it to Mr. Brainwash‘s latest extravaganza of Street Art called ArtShow2011. For those who may not know, Mr. Brainwash, AKA Thierry Guetta became a mini celebrity in a section of the art world when he mounted a similar pop up gonzo free for all in 2008. That exhibition, Mr. Brainwash himself and the not-so-under world of street art were subsequently the subject of a really entertaining documentary called Exit through the Gift Shop. The film made my Top Ten List on TruffleHunting last year.
While this world is not my usual destination, I felt compelled to see it in person. It was a scene. The atmosphere is that of a carnival with resplendant visual rides and similarly fascinating freakshows. The veneer is sincere and energetic. It’s easy to see why he has his followers and fans. Yet too much relies on gag-like jokes that amuse and fade nanoseconds apart. He’s the Henny Youngman of the street art set. This wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean attitude also makes someone like Banksy, Shepard Fairey or Swoon seem like poets in comparison. At once trying to play the outsider, Guetta’s desire to be on the stage that he mocks (and cribs from) is too transparent. I do however celebrate the goofy simultaneity that the greater artworld has to offer. That said, I will let my snapshots tell most of the cacophonous story of this short-lived enterprise. The exhibition has actually been extended for two more days. Visiting Hours begin at 2pm on both January 2nd and 3rd, 2012. Bring your sunscreen.
–Mario M. Muller, January 1st, 2012