Friday, February 5, 2010

Mr. Brainwash: Coming Soon to A Wall (Or Auction House) Near You

(NEW YORK) International hell-raiser and provocateur-nonpareil Mr. Brainwash will soon be blowing up Manhattan's Meat Packing District, with what news-makers promise will be a star-making solo debut.

ICONS will open Sunday, February 14 at 415 West 13th Street: 15,000 square feet of anarchy, painting and sculpture. The first 300 people to arrive will be awarded with original prints, created and signed by the artist.

Don't even miss this one; if you do, you'll be missing history in the making.

You may be familiar with Mr. Brainwash from his mind-bendingly surreal and super-scale illegal paste-ups, which borrow from Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Warhol,and cover entire buildings in Los Angeles.

MBW's paste-ups have earned him an international cult following from devotees as far afield as London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles, and he's also the subject of a new documentary, Exit Through The Gift Shop, which has caused much head-scratching at Sundance.

Exit Through The Gift Shop is being hailed by critics as a Meta-confounding, postmodern mash-up in the conceptual tradition of Being John Malkovich, with a little Morgan Spurlock thrown in to boot. As critics marvel at the film's complexity, they go on to say that Exit Through The Gift Shop makes astute observations about not only consumer culture and the hypocrisy of the art world, but about the nature of film itself.

Originally conceived as a documentary of Mr. Brainwash's idol, Banksy,Exit Through The Gift Shop takes a sharp left-tern midway through; during Mr. Brainwash's production of the documentary, Banksy "turns the tables" on Mr. Brainwash, to commandeer the documentary's production and make the film a work-in-progress-portrait of Mr. Brainwash himself.

According to Reuters, Brainwash was so in awe of Banksy that he sought for years to document the notoriously secretive artist's work methods of pasting illegal artwork on streets world-wide. When the documentary production got going in earnest, Banksy convinced Mr Brainwash to start pasting up his own creations, which are arguably much more complex and riveting than Banksy's. And that's only the beginning.

As it turns out, SAVAGENYC actually owns a piece of Mr. Brainwash's work, if by "own" one means delicately scraping the work from a wall on East 2nd Street, during a snow storm, and taking it home.

You may not know about Mr. Brainwash, but you've seen his work.
Brainwash's most recent take on the nature of art and celebrity can be found all over the LES, in the form of a CD cover he was commissioned to do, last summer, for Madonna's greatest hits collection, Celebration.

MBW's whip-smart take on Madonna, as filtered through Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, maintains the pop star's reputation for visual acuity and underground awareness, but the question remains: will Mr. Brainwash's work look as good in a gallery, or can it only be appreciated on the street, where people can stop to remove them and take them home (for free)?