Last night I became the very last entertainment journalist/columnist in the world to see Exit Through The Gift Shop. My guilt is lifted…finally! And no more harassment from distributor John Sloss about my dereliction. It’s a half-humorous, half-depressing, altogether fascinating film about the lowering of aesthetic standards in the art world. It’s very “alive” and attuned to 21st Century art-celebrity currents, and in my head has shot to the front of the pack in the Best Feature Doc competition.
It’s absolutely essential viewing for anyone who cares about wall art or lives in a major city with an idea that he/she knows something about where aesthetic standards are heading. (Hint: not up.) The oldest Gift Shop tag line is still the best one: “The world’s first street-art disaster movie.”
I saw Exit at the Tribeca Film Festival at a screening hosted by editor Chris King (l.) and producer Jaimie D’Cruz (r.).
I’m being threatened with eviction by the manager of the Cosmic Diner on Eighth Avenue so I may not finish this, but this more or less sincerely-assembled documentary was paid for by Banksy, the British street artist who never shows his face. Banksy more or less directed Exit, although it’s ironic that the film he funded chronicles the dawn of an age in which genuinely talented and high-craft street artists like Banksy and others are being usurped in a sense by pseudo-artistes like Thierry Guetta. I really am getting kicked out of here (“That’s enough, people need tables,” etc.) so that’s all she wrote until I return to the pad later tonight.