The solo show of Banksy protege Mr Brainwash, aka Thierry Guetta, opened on Sunday in the cavernous space of the Old Sorting Office of London’s West End. Thousands of fans had queued up in anticipation of the 2pm opening of the free show and the promise of 250 limited-edition prints by the artist.
Guetta’s show featured hundreds of pieces that must have taken thousands of hours to craft, assemble and display. The style is very much in the vein of Banksy — cheeky, irreverent, knowing, populist, well-crafted, subtly both flattering and mocking of its audience and the entire tradition of art from old masters all the way to pop art.
Some questions the show raises: Is it art? Is it any good? What do all the pop references mean? Is Mr Brainwash anti-capitalist? How big a team creates these pieces? Are Mr Brainwash and Banksy the same person? Are they taking us for a ride, just like they did in the brilliantly subversive, mind-bending documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop?
Does it matter as long as we’re enjoying it and engaging the imagination of thousands who would otherwise find no interest in art?
Look at the pieces and decide for yourself.