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Jun 18, 2008

Seen: Mr. Brainwash’s Life is Beautiful


Last night was the preview for LA artist Mr. Brainwash’s solo, Life is Beautiful, down at the old CBS studio on Sunset.  The opening is today, Wednesday (6.19).  If you’re wondering who Mr. Brainwash is,  he’s a french documentary filmmaker who turned to creating his own brand of street inspired art after years of shooting iconic artists such as Shepard Fairey and Banksy.  According to the current issue of LA weekly, he’s also self-financing the show – in effect jump starting his own artistic career.  While I could just let the 160+ or so pictures in the gallery speak for themselves (after the jump), I somehow feel compelled to say just a bit more.

MBW presented so much work in the massive 15,000 square foot space it’s a little hard to know where to begin.  I think it’s fair to say I haven’t had this much fun at an art show in quite awhile.   As I wandered around the space, I kept wondering what spectacle was around the corner.  There were plenty  of highlights from the massive 12 ft. takeout bag complete with receipt in front of the studio to the two cop cars and numerous stencil pieces, pop culture mashups and annotated paintings.   ‘Life is Beautiful’ is stimulus overload.  A friend mentioned that this is the ‘most derivative art show ever, but it’s a hell of alot of fun”.  I agree with the second half of the statement and can certainly understand the first though I’m not comfortable writing it off as completely derivative in a formulaic manner.  Is Jimi hendrix wielding a Guitar Hero controller an inspired stroke of creative genius?  Maybe not,  some would say definitely not, but it’s striking and certainly humorous.  Done well, mixing the iconic and the timeless with the contemporary and the mundane can be provocative and addictive. 

Based on this first exposure to MBW’s work, I see him as a remixer of art and culture with a style that is likely to polarize onlookers into  both impressed and the bemused but dismissive groups.   One thing is for certain, Life is Beautiful is not to be missed – it’s street art as show on a grand stage. The show has a short run – just through Sunday July 22nd, so don’t hesitate.  Oh, did I mention it’s fun ?

6121 West Sunset
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Posted by Jack @ 03:10 AM in Shows | Permalink  | Comments (0) |


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