Banksy may never reveal his (or her or their) identity, but there’s a theory floating that around Thierry Guetta (aka Mr. Brainwash) is actually the man in question. Guetta made a name for himself after being vaulted into guerrila art royalty when both Banksy and Shepherd Fairey vouched for him, which made him a successful artist. But the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop painted him as a poseur who had none of the inspiration, but was accepted by the art community without question. The price of fame for Guetta is a lawsuit, according to The Guardian.
The Guardian comes to a conclusion that seems silly, in that they suggest the documentary isn’t a hoax because Guetta is being sued. For those who’ve seen the film, there are levels to what in the film may or may not be true, and how much of Guetta is an act. But it seems beyond the film to fabricate a human being, so whether Guetta is a puppet, or Banksy himself is not really answered by him being sued. The Oscar-nominated film created a lot of interest in both Banksy and Guetta, but is also a great documentation on the evolution of street art, and it’s co-opting by the mainstream. It was one of the best films of its year, and it’s highly worth checking out.
Deep Throat said “follow the money” when it came to Watergate, and it’s possible that this lawsuit could get accountants near Guetta’s numbers if they don’t settle. If so, how much money is his, how much is Banksy’s, and other interesting questions could be answered. Likely this is small time, but smaller things have unraveled lesser mysteries.
Have you seen Exit Through the Gift Shop?