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A Pranksy Film?

Some arts writers, including Logan Hill, have speculated that Thierry Guetta, the director-turned-subject of Exit Through the Gift Shop, is a fictional creation, an actor in an elaborate Banksy prank that began years ago to expose the faddishness and philistinism of the art world and that now reaches its climax with a faux documentary. It’s very possible--very, very possible. Likely, even. But if I and other enthusiasts have been gulled, I don’t mind too much. An early skeptic, New York Times writer Melena Ryzik, hasn’t gotten to the bottom of it yet but makes the case for why the film’s reality is, in one sense, moot. “It certainly asks real questions: about the value of authenticity, financially and aesthetically; about what it means to be a superstar in a subculture built on shunning the mainstream; about how sensibly that culture judges, and monetizes, talent.” If Banksy had to manufacture Mr. Brainwash to drive home his point that the art world is easily brainwashed, the satire is too rich to make me cry foul. I repeat: He can vandalize our movie screens anytime!

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