Tag Archives: exit through the gift shop

Photos from the Mr. Brainwash Life is Beautiful Exhibit

Brainwash Bowie Mural
All Photos By Gail. Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail.

While not necessarily a household name, Mr. Brainwash is arguably one of the most commercially successful street artists alive, and certainly one whose art panders to the lowest common denominator, Hallmark-Greeting-Card-sensibilities of the general public. What his heavily appropriated artworks lack in originality, Brainwash makes up in Chutzpah and being backed by a team who are geniuses at marketing and selling his brand. Right now — for how long, who the fuck knows — you can explore a warehouse-sized exhibit of Brainwash’s Greatest Hits at a pop-up space on West 14th Street, directly under the High Line Park. Entitled Life is Beautiful, the exhibit is the French-born, LA-based artist’s follow-up to 2010’s all-encompassing exhibit/happening, Icons; which was up for most of that year, it seems. Was it worth the wait? You betcha.

Christina's World

It is easy to criticize Brainwash’s Instagram-Nation-mentality visual puns and platitudes, but it is hard not to fall in love with pieces as hilariously snarky as this depiction of Tiger Woods playing through on Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World that i saw on socialproof.xyz. Talk about taking the piss out of beloved cultural icons.

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell’s classic Americana portraiture also gets a liberal dose of the Brainwash Treatment, hybridizing these well-loved images with modern memes and technological gadgets.

Rockwell Trio

If you are my age or older, you probably grew up with Rockwell’s art in your house. In a way, this generational mash-up gives Brainwash’s  art an ideal cross-over accessibility, making it a fun exhibit to bring your parents to. In fact, I daresay there is something here for everybody.

Darth Painting

Do you like Star Wars? There are Star Wars characters in this exhibit.

Storm Trooper

Mickey Mouse

Look at all this stuff! It’s like Bansky’s attic blew up in your face.

Art Chair

Some of the art is disguised as stuff that you can sit on. Can you sit on this? Try it and find out.

Life is Beautiful Green

Cabinet of Toys

This cabinet stuffed with vintage toys appealed to my collector/hoarder mentality.

Toys Detail

If you look long enough, you’ll probably see something you used to own, before it was purchased for a nickel from the Goodwill, or scavenged from a landfill.


Maybe you remember the celebrity portraits created from meticulously pieced-together broken vinyl LPs that made up about 50% of the Icons exhibit. Well, they’re back for an encore appearance in Life is Beautiful. Some, like this ubiquitous image of Jimi Hendrix, now have psychedelic paint thrown onto the hair, for an updated effect.

Vinyl Record Portraits

Yeah, you remember these guys.

Living Room

Is it artsy recreation of a Midcentury Living Room, or is it a comfy place to rest? Again, why not see what you can get away with?

Brainwash Kitchen

Here, Brainwash offers a few redesign ideas for your kitchen.

Caitlyn Jenner

Renaissance Caitlyn Jenner manages to be both topical and mind blowing simultaneously.

Batman and Robin

And of course the art is nothing if not hyper-self-referential.

Tomato Spray Can

Another rehash from Icons but, like an old friend, always fun to see again.

Life is Beautiful Hirst

I wonder if Damien Hirst gets a cut of this one?

Seinfeld Cast

These stylized portraits of the cast of Seinfeld are probably my favorite pieces in the show.

Cow Parade

This one made me nostalgic for the Cow Parade. If you don’t know what that was, you should Google it.

Mr Brainwash
Thierry Guetta (AKA Mr. Brainwash).

I finally made in it to see the Life is Beautiful exhibit at 2:30 PM on a Friday, after three unsuccessful attempts; meeting a closed and locked door each of the previous times. So, if you feel lucky or have time to kill, why not see if your timing is right and you arrive on a day and time that someone with keys decides to open the door. Hours are not posted on Brainwash’s official website, nor can they be found anywhere on the storefront itself.  So it is really a crap-shoot that can get old fast, depending on your tolerance for being jerked around.


Don’t forget to hashtag the shit out of your photos.

Brainwash Exhibit as seen from the Highline.

UPDATE 8/25/15

The exhibit has moved to much smaller space just a few storefronts east of its previous home, and is now a Pop Up “Store” with hours clearly posted on the doors, as seen in the photo below:

Brainwash Hours
Photo by Geoffrey Dicker

Graffiti Cocktail Shaker Conjures Mr. Brainwash

While this cleverly designed Cocktail Shaker (designed by William Kellogg) has no affiliation with pop artist Mr. Brainwash, anyone who’s familiar with that artist’s giant spray paint can sculptures will certainly draw an instant comparison. And with the popularity of the documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop that might just be good for sales! Designed to look like an actual can of spray paint, this stainless steel mixer features a faux Krylon logo on its white exterior, and comes with a decorative red plastic cap that covers a non-operational nozzle. Holds 14 ounces of delicious beverage fluid: enough to get you and a friend fully crocked. Available for just $19.95 at This Link.

Thanks to Thrillist Dot Com For The Tip!

Mr. Brainwash Collectible Print Sale! Starts This Thursday!

Click Above for Larger Image

The reluctant star of the hit movie, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Mr. Brainwash is releasing six limited edition screen prints from 2009. Each print measures 22″x30″ and is hand finished, signed, numbered and includes MBW’s signature thumbprint on the back. Available in a limited edition of 50 each, these prints will be available for sale starting on Thursday, June 17th at 12 Noon Pacific Time (3 PM Eastern), for $300 each. For those who purchase the set you will receive the same edition number. Visit Mr Brainwash Dot Com on Thursday to participate in the sale. Limit one print of each kind per customer.

Must See Film: Exit Through The Gift Shop

It is no secret that I am a huge lover of art. Specifically, I tend to favor modern and contemporary art over marble statues and oil paintings of zaftig nudes and bowls of fruit. All due props to Michelangelo and Matisse, that stuff doesn’t really ‘yank my chain,’ as they say; but put me in a museum full of Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans and Jeff Koons’ gigantic, painted steel Balloon Dog sculptures and I’m in heaven. Being blessed with someone like Geoffrey as a BFF, it only stands to reason that I would have become a bit fond of the Street Art. Because if Geoffrey is any kind of gay, he is completely and totally GAY FOR THE STREET ART. Just being serious. If it weren’t for Geoffrey, the likes of Banksy and D Face would still be a mystery to me. This past February, Geoffrey forced (not really) me to stand in line outside in the freezing cold for hours and hours, until my tiny feet turned into blocks of ice, to get into the Mr. Brainwash Icons exhibit in the meatpacking district. At the time, I barely even knew who the fuck Mr. Brainwash was, but after five minutes inside the gallery – and once I was able to thaw out and tap a kidney – I became a huge Mr. Brainwash fan. Because, as an artist whose work embodies a cross between Bansky and my beloved Andy Warhol, Mr. Brainwash, he is the shit. So thanks, Geoffrey, for turning me into a fan.

At New York’s Sunshine Theater right now, there is a documentary film playing called Exit Through the Gift Shop, which I took myself to see this past Sunday afternoon. Exit Through the Gift Shop tells the engaging and hilarious story of a French immigrant vintage clothing boutique proprietor living in Los Angeles named Thierry (“Terry”) Guetta, who became obsessed with video-taping the late night activities of Graffiti / Street Artists. Through his relentless filming escapades, Guetta eventually meets the most prolific purveyor of Street Art (the now world-famous Shepard Fairey) and later the most elusive one (the uber-mysterious Bansky) and becomes a kind of sidekick or assistant to these men. Although it is initially Guetta’s objective to transform his thousand of hours of film into a bona fide documentary about Street Artists, once he shows his “completed film” (entitled Life Remote Control) to Banksy, it becomes painfully obvious that Guetta has no idea how to make a cohesive film. However, heartened by Guetta’s never-say-die spirit and fiery, creative passion, Banksy encourages him to go out and make some Street Art himself.

From that point in the film, we see Thierry transform himself from an obsessed  fan into a Street Artist who would eventually become known as – wait for it – Mr. Brainwash! Directed by Banksy and featuring prime cuts from Guetta’s rare “gonzo” footage, and punctuated by interviews with dozens of other artists, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a rare movie-going experience that not only captivates the viewer but one that also manages to propose and offer insightful answers to the timeless question “what is art?” Plus you have to love the part where Banksy and Brainwash surreptitiously attempt to install a work of Guantanamo Bay Detainee–inspired “Art” at Disneyland: one of the most tightly policed places on Earth. Hee!

If you walk into this film not knowing anything about Graffiti Artists or Street Art whatsoever, you will likely come out with a thoroughly comprehensive knowledge of the movement while having been entertained far beyond your money’s worth. What other film can you say that about? The more time I have to digest this film, the more I am convinced that Exit Through the Gift Shop is one of the best and most thoroughly enjoyable films I have seen in my life – which puts it right up there with A Clockwork Orange and Harold and Maude.

The Worley Gig gives Exit Through the Gift Shop Five Out of Five Stars.