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Mr. Brainwash’s exhibit: Art Show 2011 preview,Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Mr. Brainwash, of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ fame, had another of his over-the-top exhibit in Los Angeles, and, curious of all the hype and the mystery surrounding his role in this Oscar-nominated documentary, I went to the preview on Thursday night and waited on line, in the cold, for several hours with hundred of people.

I saw the film last year, now the exhibit, and I still don’t know what to think of all this extravaganza, this messy display,… is Bansky’s faux-friend bullshitting all of us? Is he a great artist or an opportunistic joker? While watching the exhibit, I couldn’t stop thinking that the never-ending speculation about Mr. Brainwash’s authenticity as an artist, or what is real art is a total mindfuck. In any case he got the last word, because all the conversations I was hearing when I was in line, seemed to take him very seriously.

Mr. Brainwash, whose real name is Thierry Guetta (why is it that every French people famous in the US and with no substance has this same name?!) has transformed the abandoned industrial complex of over 80,000 square feet on La Brea avenue into a sort of apocalyptic amusement park, where every single icon and symbol of pop culture has been rehashed, regurgitated, and sprayed all over of course.

It is as if Mr. Brainwash had digested a few decades of the Who’s Who of the fashionable, the notorious, the celebrated and the trendy in all forms of media, and had vomited his undigested chyme in front of us without taking the time to clean up a bit. Is it trashy? Of course! Classy trashy? I don't know, I was overwhelmed by the quantity of stuff, for use of a better word, to see at the same time thrown in front of my eyes.

In Brainwash’s giant collages you will recognize about anybody more or less significant in the recent pop culture,… just name one and you’ll find it! Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Cassius Clay, Keith Richards, Miles Davis, Brigitte Bardot, Louis Armstrong, David Bowie, Jim Morrison, Sid Vicious, Santana, Slash, Ray Charles, James Dean, Serge Gainsbourg, Tyler the Creator, John Kennedy, Benjamin Franklin, but also Colonel Sanders, Mona Lisa, Star Wars' characters, Mr. Potato head, Felix the Cat, Mickey Mouse,… even Steve Jobs was in a greenish rat-hole cave with old Apple computers, and Banksy was painting a Warhol portrait.

Brainwash sees everything gigantic, there were big Greek-God statues, a big bull, a big elephant, a big horse, a big Mr. Potato head, and big spray cans,… But how many Warhol-theme giant spray cans do we need? One Campbell tomato soup, one Coca Cola, one Heinz ketchup, one Starbucks, one… enough already, we got it! And how many tagged pieces of furniture can we bear to see?

And in what aim? I am not exactly sure,… There was humor, with slogans like ‘Hipsters ruin everything’, or ‘In stickers we trust’, and many other ones grabbed here and there in the streets, there were messages of love and dream, and a very Banksy-inspired ‘Never never give up’, all hidden in this monstrous amount of tags and graffiti, but what do we get from all this?

It was a sort of display with a severe case of ADD, where everything was deliberately (or not) intertwined in the sloppiest way, it was the triumph of the splashy and disheveled, the victory of the garbage warrior, and above everything the success of an art thief in all its splendor.

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