I love going to the movies and see a few movies a month of all genres although usually not adult. Last night I headed out to a movie with a friend to see Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. She’s not my favorite funny woman but the movie is getting rave reviews and I’m in that business so I figured I should see it. Plus it was sweltering hot and I could use a healthy dose or air conditioning. We got a great parking spot in Kendall Square and headed toward the theater. As we waited in line to buy the tickets, we noticed the sign that said the air conditioning was out in one theater only, the theater playing the movie we wanted to see. I wasn’t familiar with any of the other movies playing but my friend suggested Exit Through the Gift Shop and it was about to start so that was it. I knew nothing of the film but thought it odd that just that morning I was telling my sister about my trip Graceland noting that some of the museums were in stores and she noted that “most museums exit through the gift shop”.
If you haven’t seen or heard about the movie, it is about street art or graffiti art, or so it seems at first. Art like this rarely goes unnoticed since it litters build walls, train cars and most blank spaces. It’s art to be seen, perhaps making a statement perhaps not, and accessible to the public 24 hours a day without cost. These artists are often unknown however there are a few street artists such as Banksy, Space Invader and Shepard Fairey who are known throughout the art community and beyond. It was inspiring to see people do something they love simply for the love of it rather than the profit. It seems pure at this state.
Then the movie takes a turn. All that seemed genuine and real became tainted by someone who was a public relations wizard. Publicity and hype created something very real from something that was not. It was amazing to think that was possible but then I realized there are examples of that all around. It was disheartening and a bit discouraging but realistically it seems to be how the world works when you have skewed priorities, a false sense of success and misguided intention. That stinks but still seems to be true. That part of the movie however wasn’t the piece that resonated most with me. The creator of the film, Banksey who is a street artist who remains anonymous to this day and who was partially, although unknowingly, responsible for the false creation, stayed true to his form. He didn’t fight the injustice, he didn’t cry out for his own recognition, but rather acknowledged what occurred and returned to his own path without hesitation and still anonymous. That little message hidden in the film was a pleasant surprise and inspiring to me.