Sunday, September 02, 2012

Mr Brainwash: art for the brain dead

Good news for some, perhaps, that Mr Brainwash's first solo UK art show at The Old Sorting Office on Oxford Street has now been extended for an extra week until 7th September.

Mr Brainwash is familiar to many via Exit Through the Gift Shop, Banksy's 2010 'documentary' about Frenchman Thierry Guetta, who adopts the name Mr Brainwash during the course of the film and puts on his own art show in L.A. The film seemed like a hoax, things not adding up, just another Banksy trick. Yet here still is Mr Brainwash, designing covers for Madonna CDs, having huge solo exhibitions, his 'art' selling for thousands.

I'm not hugely bothered if Mr Brainwash is or isn't Banksy; I'm not even bothered that Mr Brainwash has no artistic ability and employs a team (not of artists, note, this is not art; but of graphic designers) to carry out his work (after all, everyone from Michelangelo to Jeff Koons has done the same); if I'm bothered at all it's that his work is so completely derivative, endlessly recycling Warhol and Banksy until it is devoid of any meaning or originality.

Still, the exhibition is good fun in a trashy and kitsch kind of way; presumably aimed towards people who don't normally go to art exhibitions because they don't get modern art. With Mr Brainwash's work there's nothing to get. I wish I'd taken my six year old daughter; she would have appreciated it more than me.

I can't complain (much), though, there are numerous freebies at the (free to get in) exhibition: a Mr Brainwash spray can, three posters, three postcards and a bottle of Coke and water.

[The same day I'd gone to Mr Brainwash's exhibition, I went to see Grayson Perry's series of tapestries at the Victoria Miro gallery (above). Examining notions of taste and class in the UK, the six tapestries were based on the Channel 4 series All in the Best Possible Taste, which was presented by Perry. It was a worthy contrast to Mr Brainwash. Here was art with meaning; original and thought-provoking, it even told a story, you know, like all art used to do. Perry states that he's 'interested in the politics of consumerism' and shows us how we attach emotional importance to objects. With Mr Brainwash all we get is the objects.

Previously on Barnflakes:
Banksy vs Bristol Museum

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