Banksy gets a nod from Oscar

Posted: February 20, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

exit through the gift shop - monkey

The power of the Internet never ceases to amaze me. I first found out that Banksy’s documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop was nominated for an Oscar via Twitter. I was shocked and damn right impressed that The Academy recognized a film done by someone who tends to wear a monkey mask in public.

Once my shock turned to curiosity, I hit the blogs to find out what everyone else was saying. I quickly found out that it wasn’t the nomination itself that was on everyone’s minds, but exactly how the elusive street artist would accept the Oscar if he were to win on February 27th.

That’s when my imagination took over and I started to fantasize about all of the different ways that I would want Banksy to accept the award, with the craziest of all involving him simply going up to the stage and accepting the award!

After turning to Vandalog, I read a post by RJ Rushmore on the exact topic. It linked to a New York Times article that touched on the touchy subject of Banksy and the possible shenanigans that may take place.

The article was mildly entertaining, but I wanted to know more so I decided to get in contact with 20-year-old Vandalog Editor-in-Chief RJ Rushmore, not actually believing he would humor me and respond.

Later that day I received a Tweet from the Haverford College student and this is what came out of it all…

Q: How did you get into blogging about street art?

A: My dad got me into it at first and I just took off running. Pretty randomly, he bought a stencil on wood by Faile. After that, we both fell in love with street art. That was about three years ago. Then, almost two and a half years ago, I started Vandalog as a way to involve myself in the street art scene separately from my dad and the collecting side of things (although there’s nothing wrong with collecting art).

Q: Do you think that Banksy’s film is worth a nomination? How likely is it that Exit Through the Gift Shop will win?

A: I just rewatched “Exit” this week for the first time since seeing it at the London premiere. I was surprised that I liked it better the second time around. It’s a good film. I haven’t seen any of the other films that were nominated for the documentary feature award this year and only a few of the other films that were short listed, so it’s hard for me to say “Exit” stacks up against the competition, but I’m (generally) glad it was nominated. If the awards are based on PR and that sort of thing, it will have to win. If the awards are based on the quality and importance of films, I’m much less sure that it will win.

Q: You mentioned the authenticity of the documentary in one of your posts. Where do you stand on that?

A: A lot of people originally speculated that Mr. Brainwash was some sort of Banksy creation to prove that the art world is full of suckers (and upon hearing that rumor, people of course starting buying MBW “art” at inflated prices, completely missing the joke that they were supposedly in on). I don’t believe that, entirely. I don’t think “Exit” was staged or that those events did not happen. I just think that it’s almost inevitable that a misleading story was told and that some key facts were left out. For one thing, I have to believe that Banksy and Shepard helped out with the Life Is Beautiful show more than they care to admit. But Thierry is real. That is something I’m sure of.

Q: Who do you think will be there on behalf of the film? Do you think it will just be the producer or do you think Banksy will pull some sort of stunt?

A: Banksy’s already pulling stunts in LA with the work he’s putting up. It’s hard to say about the actual awards ceremony. On the one hand, he has to pull a stunt. On the other hand, Banksy is too mainstream to flip off The Academy like that. If he does a stunt inside of the award theater, it will be something pre-organized like that Eminem/Bruno stunt at the VMA back in 2009. I wouldn’t rule out a stunt right outside of the awards.

Q: In the perfect world how would you like to see Banksy accept the award?

A: This is the speech I’d like to see: “Thanks for this award. It’s going on eBay tonight with the proceeds going to charity. I’m out. Gonna go live in the English countryside with Penny Rimbaud from Crass.” But that’s not going to happen.

Q: What do you think this nomination means for the street art world?

A: A generation of street artists is “graduating” and a new generation is going to get energized by the film. Like The Sex Pistols, this film will either expose a bunch of people to something completely different, and they will either embrace it (the punk bands inspired by The Sex Pistols) or rebel against it (bands like The Smiths and Joy Division). Either way, it’s more people exposed to a great scene, even if it shows the poison side of the scene. Maybe this means that bad parts of the scene will be less prevalent. Maybe less street artists will use the streets purely as advertising for gallery work. I doubt it though. If anything, this is proving to people that any half-decent designer with connections can put up some posters and become famous.

Photo by Flickr user centralasian

  1. Edel619 says:

    awesome insight!

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