What is Art?

It’s an age-old question and yet one that has no answer. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” we’re told and I guess you could replace “beauty” with “art.” “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Again, replace “treasure” with “art” and you have an interesting and yet true statement.

“Exit through the Gift Shop” is a documentary that came to Columbus-shocking, I know-and we missed it. But, thank goodness for Netflix and their InstantWatch. We pulled it right up and watched one of my favorite documentaries to date. A film that was originally set out to be about Graffiti/Street Artists, it turned into a film about Theirry Guetta and his extremely short rise to “fame” as an “artist.” Banksy, a world acclaimed Street Artist, began to document the life of Street Artists and their underground world after being “duped” by Guetta who said he was a film maker. “He turned out to be a mentally disturbed man with a camera”, said Banksy. After realizing that Guetta had thousands upon thousands of hours of footage of street artists at work and no real plans to actually create a movie, Banksy challenges Guetta to become a street artist and start creating his own art. Guetta takes this very seriously and begins his journey. His years of watching others create their art in the dead of night and produce art shows later was helpful, and it’s as if his thought process is go big or go home. He rents a CBS building where “I Love Lucy” was filmed and sets out to create his gallery. His show attracts thousands and a story is printed in LA Weekly.

But Art lovers aren’t convinced.  And, frankly, neither are we. After reading a few articles and blogs, all the thoughts that ran through our heads while watching the film came tumbling in out in near word vomit. “How did he get the money to travel to all those places?” “Does he work?” “What about his wife and kids?” “His mom died and all those older siblings put him in foster care?” It just doesn’t add up. In addition, with the exception of one scene with a spray can and a wall, you never see Guetta actually produce any art.

Definitely an interesting film and a good use of a couple of hours, as well fodder for a conversation that goes around in circles for awhile.

What is Art?

Probably not that…