February 22, 2011 by Sarojini Seupersad
Hardly anyone believed that the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, directed by the internationally known (infamously) anonymous British street artist and prankster Banksy – known for his monkey mask, political subjects, humor and extreme secrecy – was an actual documentary. The film, about a filmmaker cum successful street artist, Thierry Guetta or “Mr. Brainwash,” didn’t seem real to most people, not only because it was almost too good to be true, but also because no one knows who Banksy really is, and we know he likes to subvert the status quo, but most of all, we know the joke is ALWAYS on us. Was Exit a device to mock the film industry? Is he making fun of us all – right now? Is he Guetta, or someone else? It’s hard to know, but since Exit Through the Gift Shop has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category, the public needed some answers. Banksy, as much as an anonymous artist can, has insisted that it’s all real. The Academy, however, wasn’t so sure and also needed to know if, in the event of winning the Oscar, who would accept it? They couldn’t very well have Banksy come on stage wearing a monkey mask. Unacceptable. This is an elegant affair, after all. But all parties involved managed to come to a logical agreement: Thierry Guetta will accept the Oscar on Banksy’s behalf. Also, what if Guetta is Banksy? Well, the L.A. Times has figured that out for us, too. They dug into Guetta’s background and financials and uncovered that, although he has made tons of cash since becoming Mr. Brainwash, he is not Banksy himself. Or at least, probably not. There are still some questions (as there always are when Banksy is involved), but it looks like we should all shut the hell up and accept that this is indeed a documentary. Right now, the only question that matters is: Will he win?
Read the full L.A. Times article here.