Banksy v Welles

May 4, 2010

I liked Exit Through the Gift Shop well enough. Its bad-boy, Euro-trash pranksters bite their thumbs at the art-world that feeds them by playfully manufacturing a hoax-star doppleganger forger from thin air, then selling his misbegotten wares for millions: gotcha! But really, guys, Orson Welles did it all before, with better craft, crazier detours, and actual genius. F for Fake (1973), also a film about (male) authorship, authenticity, and the value of art—as warranted (or not) by modernist masters like Howard Hughes, Pablo Picasso, and Orson Welles—runs intellectual, artistic, and charlatan circles around the pomo school-boy thrills of wheat-pasting and the endless whirlpool of appropriation. Banksy ends his film explaining that the experience has led him to doubt his earlier idealistic belief that all people should make art, supporting instead, by inference, that only the truly gifted (like that clever artist who thought up telling his own story of art-world deception through a fraud, think of it!) should be heard or valued in our brave new cacophony of DIY expression. With this I agree, in part. While everyone can and should make art, if I was forced to choose between overly-lauded male whiz-kids, I’d go for that full-figured man, Welles, every time…

3 Responses to “Banksy v Welles”


  1. […] See F is for Fake and the rest of my thoughts on my blog. […]


  2. […] new product and its crushing love of charlatan self-promoting wunderkinds. As I’ve written elsewhere, that’s already been done (Orson shoulda won the Oscar!): “bad-boy, Euro-trash […]


  3. […] or viral-wonders (i.e. Paranormal Activity, Catfish, I’m Still Here, Taking Woodstock, Exit Through the Gift Shop, or “the lesbian blogger Amina“), just to stay current. But I won’t go to see […]


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