Category Archives: movie review

Life with Picasso – Every artist should read this art book

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If you ask any artist the top art books that they read while going to school, you will get a wide variety of responses but as for me my favorite art book that I still enjoy reading every few years is Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot.

The Authority on Picasso?

Francoise Gilot should be considered the foremost Picasso expert since she spent eight years of her life with him and bore two of his children. Who else can claim to have known Picasso so intimately than Françoise?

The book starts out when Gilot is a young girl towards the end of World War II when she meets Picasso while sitting in a restaurant with friends, Picasso, always the ladies’ man, hits on both young girls and invites them to his studio.

A few days later Francoise visits Picasso’s studio in Paris with her friend and they stay for hours as Picasso shows them his latest work. As they are leaving Picasso extends the invitation to Francoise to visit him again which she ultimately does and their “romance” blossoms, much to the disappointment of her parents.

Francoise Gilot with Picasso

Why Read This Book?

At the time that this book was written Francoise Gilot was said to have had a photographic memory and was able to remember almost everything she had done and said with Picasso during their relationship together.

This book also chronicles Picasso’s relationship with other artists like Henri Matisse and it gives the reader an intimate perspective into his technique and philosophies on art.

Surviving Picasso

Although it was largely panned when it was released in 1996, Surviving Picasso is one of the best depictions of Francoise Gilot’s book: Life with Picasso. Even though critics like Gilot and Picasso’s family hated this movie and called it inaccurate, the film does the story justice and it’s one of the best films about painting and art to come out in the last 20 years.

Thanks to the internet you can download Life with Picasso for free if you use an ereader like Barnes and Nobles Kindle or you can order if off www.amazon.com.

Surviving Picasso is also available for sale through Amazon and rental through Netflix.

Exit Through The Gift Shop – A real artists take on an art movie

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A Night Out (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

 

As an artist and art lover I recently got the opportunity to watch the hit 2011 film: Exit through the Gift Shop. This movie is about the world of street art as seen through the eyes of Thierry Guetta, a former Los Angeles based shop owner turned filmmaker who stumbled upon the underground world of street art and began to document it over a span of almost 10 years.

Underground Excitement

The first hour of the film is excellent as the audience gets a chance to follow Guetta as he travels around the world following street artists as they place their artwork on walls and bridges of cities like Los Angeles, New York, Paris and London.

Thierry Guetta

I admired Thierry Guetta’s desire to document something that nobody had ever seen before and I envied his opportunity to spend countless hours with great street artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy. Guetta had so many awesome opportunities to literally stick his neck out on a limb with these artists as they sometimes put their personal safety and security on the line for art.

A Long Project

After about 10 years of filming, street artists like Shepard Fairey started asking Guetta what he was going to do with the thousands of hours of film that he’s shot and he responded by creating a documentary: Life Remote Control.

Once Banksy watched his documentary he knew that Thierry Guetta wasn’t a real filmmaker at all, instead he knew the reality that Guetta was just an enthusiastic guy with a camcorder who really loved street art and he didn’t have any real filmmaking talent.

Under the Golden Sunflower (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

Banksy did Guetta a favor and took possession of the thousands of hours of tape that he’d shot over the years and the result is the documentary: Exit through the Gift Shop.

Genius or Scam Artist?

The last 45 minutes of the movie chronicle Thierry Guetta as he turned from wannabe filmmaker to an “artist” in his own right. This turn of events happened as Banksy was working on Exit Through The Gift Shop.

No reliable picture of Banksy are known to exist

Banksy encouraged Guetta to “go back to Los Angeles and create art” and this encouragement turned Guetta into a man on a mission.  He ultimately emulated the street artists that he’d been following for years and ended up hiring a crew of other artists to create artwork using his name. Once the artwork was created, Guetta was able to have his first art show which was a huge hit and ultimately ended up producing over $1 million dollars in revenue for him.

A Monster and a Master Marketer

The interesting and crazy thing about the last 45 minutes of this movie is that it shows how one man can build enough hype and establish his name as an artist even if he has no artistic talent to speak of. Almost all of Thierry Guetta’s artwork involves the use of iconic pictures and images that he has his team of workers create into what he calls “art”.

Shepard Fairey with another awesome creation.

I laughed as Banksy and Shepard Fairey lamented the fact that they essentially created Thierry Guetta (aka: Mr. Brainwash) and are a part of the crazy establishment  that jumped at the chance to buy his art even if this guy doesn’t have any real talent at all. But then again, who am I to judge what’s to be considered talent and what’s not? Part of Guetta’s talent is being able to manufacture an art career out of nothing which has given him the opportunity to earn millions of dollars and do other things in the art world like design the cover for one of Madonna’s recent albums.

Hear No Evil (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

I wish the movie would have focused more on the streets artist creative process and also on the danger involved with street art. Hopefully some Hollywood producer will create a movie about Shepard Fairey or Banksy that will star Leonardo DiCaprio or some other young Hollywood star.