Exit Through the Gift Shop, the street-art documentary credited to Banksy, was one of the best films of 2010, and also one of the most challenged on the basis of authenticity. The film purports to chronicle the street art of Banksy and Shepard Fairey through the lens of a camera held by wealthy dilettante artist Thierry Guetta. At least that’s the basis for part of the film, before Banksy turned the cameras on Guetta as the latter became a wannabe artist named Mr. Brainwash.
Is the film ‘real’? Is Mr. Brainwash an actual practicing artist or part of a long con perpetrated by Banksy for the purpose of documentary satire? The story is so strange some assumed it couldn’t be true.
Now Ron English, another street artist with connections to Banksy, says the film is definitely real, and that it was born when Guetta refused to turn over hundreds of hours of video he’d shot of Fairey and Banksy in action.