‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ is a witty documentary about and by Banksy, that prompts good questions about what makes art art, whether ‘illegal’ art (graffiti) is equated to illegitimate art. The irony of his once frowned upon (by the arty-farty) street art becoming mainstream auctioned commodities because they are too good to be ignored is funny too.
So… ‘What is art?’ My zenny answer counter-asks – ‘What is not art?’ Art is emptiness; subject to change, and has no fixed self or form! Art is the moment you appreciate anything mindfully. If so, mindfulness is what creates art! If so, we should cultivate the art of mindfulness, so as to create and appreciate art everywhere mindfully!
Art is deemed so or not by others as so at times, but this should not bother artists, as long as they see worth in their own works! This worth doesn’t have to be quantified in dollars and cents. It’s just unfortunate that some artists require dollars and cents to sustain their work. There is no true self (fixed nature) in art, artists, perception and art’s audience! The case of Banksy highlights this, even if accidentally. All these elements are in a constant whirl!
The film shows the whole ongoing affair to be like a circus act! A character is featured in the film, who appears to be an overnight artistic genius (Mr Brainwash) inspired by Banksy. Some theorise that he is one of the guises of the otherwise anonymous and faceless Banksy himself. It is great satire if it is really him, as he banks on the famous Banksy’s endorsement to make it big in the art world, to earn actual bucks as Banksy himself, who has otherwise been missing on the spoils from his originally free works!