Mr. Brainwash – Art Show 2011

Last night we hit the steets of LA and thought we would change it up this friday, and come at you with something a little different with an architectural view.  We hit up Mr. Brainwash’s Art Show 2011, check it out after the jump!

First of all, if you haven’t already seen Exit through the Gift Shop, we welcome you to the 21st century, and recommend you watch that shit right now!  Basically, it’s a documentary about Banksy, actually, it’s a movie about a documentary about Banksy.  It’s about street art.  How artists around the world create an identity, a brand, and then spread it by tagging as many surfaces, walls, roads, sidewalks, street signs, etc… Etc… As possible.   You get people with cool, catchy names: Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, Space Invader,  Gaia… But after a certain point it doesn’t matter who the artist is.  Did Banksy make the giant rat mural in NYC on Grand St and Wooster St? Or Is Banksy that very same mural.

But what about the Mr. Brainwash Art Show 2011?  It’s Amazing, Exciting, Erratic, Dramatic, Disorganized.  It’s a shit-show.  But one you’re glad you went to see it.  There’s no unifying theme, no message.  No setting, except the abandoned building in West Hollywood he just so happened to set it in.  Context? What context.  He just took what people already do and filled 4 floors with it.  You wander through the exhibit, you’re mind tries desperately to assign meaning to each piece.  Is it social commentary or is it just a collection of random shit in a cavernous space; spray painted, postered, and tagged and haphazardly placed.

People come though, and enjoy it, oh boy do they enjoy it.  We all eagerly waited in line to get our free posters.  Six or so posters, laid neatly out on tables right next to the entrance.  “You probably don’t know what the fuck this is all about, but have some of it for free anyways!” is what it seemed like they were going for.  I don’t even really remember what they were, but I grabbed “One of Each” like the sign said.  I think there was one with something about John and Yoko, standing in front of a wall of Graffiti, holding some ironic sign.  I know who they are, and, I know about Graffiti, so, this must be some kind of a thing he’s trying to say. Right?  Before I could even start fully engaging the exhibit, after literally a handful of pieces, there was a door to the outside.  Where Mr. Brainwash was sitting in front of a table and people waited in line again to get an autograph from Mr. Brainwash himself, before even trying to see the rest of the art show.

As you’d expect from an art show about Mr. Brainwash, there was plenty of street art.  Every conceivable surface had some sort of graffiti on it.   There were cars, trucks, you name it was tagged.  All  of it was smoked with graffiti, some had cans of paint, some had graffiti and cans of paint.  One was in a square hole in the ground; most were just parked, maybe intentionally, but probably randomly in the middle of the floor.  The architect in me tried to figure out if the floor could stand the load of the vehicles, but the architect in me also decided the engineers could deal with it.  There was also lots of furniture, and appliances, dressers, cabinets, desks, tables, and chairs again spray painted and tagged.  I opened a fridge; saw a couple of empty forties and a business card for some event promoter?  I saw at least 3 inaccessible rooms, and 2 closed off freight elevators.  One had a projector playing something in a city with people – it was on fast forward.  Another had 2 windows looking into what I assume was an artist’s studio, with typewriters, maybe some bikes, and furniture.  The other one had a wall size portrait of Steve Jobs, in a room with a bunch of old computers, with a strange, bluish-green wavy light.  This was all the first floor.  To get to the second floor you could choose one of probably 10 stairs, all leading to about the same spot.  It didn’t matter which you chose because at some point, you would get to the second floor and realize it wasn’t that awesome.  It was giant spray paint cans.  And Felix the cat, made of rubber tires. And he was standing on a pile of rubber.  The third floor had a giant muscular horse thing, covered in paint. And on the walls were the faces of Madonna, Marylyn Manson, Steve Jobs, Angelina Jolie photoshop-ed onto Warhol’s, Marylyn Monroe’s hair.  The Last floor basically had mountain of Stuffed animals you could literally dive into.  Unless a security guard saw you and told you not to do it again.

I’m not about to claim I’m above it all.  If it turns out to be some big joke, orchestrated by Banksy himself… I fell for it hook, line and sinker along with mostly everyone else.  We all want to “get it”, we all want to be part of “it.”  Part of me wants to say this is a commentary of modern society.  Where there is a limitless source of information and material that any one of us could tap into at any moment.  We don’t need to actually do research or experiments.  Someone probably has gone to the trouble of doing it, in great detail, and posted it somewhere on the internet.  Want to learn something? Google it!  What’s that one dude’s name from that thing that one time? Ask Siri!  Do I really need to go through all the trouble of sifting through mountains of raw, firsthand accounts, or can I read someone’s report I found online?  Mr. Brainwash is all of us.  He sees that other people have already done the work and made cool shit.  All he needs to do is find it, weed out what he doesn’t like, add different content and BAM: Art Show.  Another part of me says it’s all bullshit, a hoax; that we’ve been had.  But the part of me that matters right now saw a lot of really interesting art work, done with, and on, different materials, all placed in an amazing 5 story warehouse.  That we all, maybe, secretly want to live in some day. It is street art.  You might not always get it, like it, know who did it or why it’s there, but it’s cool; it’s edgy; and you’ll want to say you were somehow a part of it.

F+ Original by Viagnehy Oscar Fernandez
Images courtesy of  Dalmiro Quiroga

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