6ART – STREET
Is it a hoax? Is it art? The street version of The Price of Everything.
The widespread speculation that this film is a hoax only adds to its fascination. The anonymous London graffiti artist named Banksy arrives to paint walls in Los Angeles. He encounters an obscure Frenchman named Thierry Guetta, who has dedicated his life to videotaping graffiti artists. The Frenchman’s hundreds of tapes have been dumped unorganised into boxes. Banksy thinks they might make a film. Guetta makes a very bad one. Banksy takes over the film and advises Guetta to create some art himself. Guetta does, names himself Mr. Brainwash, and organises an exhibition of his work through which he makes a fortune in sales.
Surely Guetta cannot be real? Surely he didn’t rent a former CBS television studio and transform it into an exhibition space? Surely people didn’t line up at dawn to get in — and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the works of an artist who had never held a show, sold a work or received a review? Surely not.
But Thierry Guetta surely did. His art exhibition was written up in a cover story in L.A. Weekly on June 12, 2008. It mentions this film, which Banksy was “threatening to do”. Common sense dictates that no one would rent a CBS studio and fill it with hundreds of art works in order to produce a hoax indie documentary. Nor would they cast Guetta, indubitably a real person, as himself. Right? Right?
Rhys Ifans narrates an overlapping documentary where the line between what is real and what might be fake blurs, as modern art and celebrity are put under the microscope.
UK 2010, 83 min, rated M (offensive language)
Directed by Banksy
Narrated by Rhys Ifans