Exit Through the Giftshop – Documentary

Exit Through the Giftshop explores the differences between vandalism and art in terms of street art. In the previous video watched in class—Banksy: How Art’s Bad Boy Became An Icon—the question of how one can place value onto art is posed. This is further explored in the documentary where the lifespan of street art is imposed. At timestamp 12:00, Banksy explains that art is normally created to last decades, but the same does not hold true for street art because of the stigma over it. Banksy attempts to remedy this by capturing the moments of street art via video footage in order to immortalize the street art itself. Thierry Guetta echoes this idea of immortalizing important moments via video footage at timestamp 26:40 so that those moments would “live forever.” This idea of immortalizing art or immortalizing a single moment is interesting because one must also consider this: whether it is that you record a moment or a street art of fleeting lifespan, is it (as in the created record of said moment or street art) the same as said moment or street art? Or is this record that immortalizes the original a separate work of art in and of itself? In my opinion, I find that the latter holds true as a work of art is not only optical. Rather, what the original work of art has over the record is the emotions felt by one in experiencing said work of art for the first time. The fleeting lifespan in and of itself attributes to the aspect of art. To immortalize said work of art via recordkeeping through film creates a different quality in art.

Banksy: How Art’s Bad Boy Became An Icon

Despite his run-ins with the law, I feel that Banksy makes several good points in his rejection of societal standards through his art that is often construed as “vandalism.” His art very much resembles his own identity in that they are both very raw, honest, and unfiltered when it comes to the ugliness of the society we live in today. The self-destruction of the auctioned composition of the girl with the balloon was absolutely brilliant because the act itself speaks on the art market today. Banksy’s decision to sell his signed art on the streets of New York only for a mere 7 people to actually purchase it is yet another comment on the art market today. What is high art? Is it “high art” because it is something to be coveted or is it “high art” because of the technique and ideas behind a composition? Banksy poses an interesting question: how is value placed on art? How can art be owned when it’s the action of destruction that led to the shredded painting?