Mr. Brainwash in Los Angeles
Thierry Guetta aka Mr. Brainwash (MBW), is whirlwind of insanity. With his broken foot and his little red scooter he reeks havoc in the old CBS studio on Sunset and Gower. Inside, a jumbled mess. Art is strewn about everywhere. With less than two hours to go, panic has set in and people are rushing, trying to figure out what to do. Its Tuesday night, the private showing of the show, and frankly, there is no show. I stand there with my mouth slightly agape; off to the side I take my photos and observe. How is he going to pull this off. "Hang this and this and this and do this!" is often the comment I hear being shouted by MBW before he scoots off to another section of the studio with his mish mash of assistants, workers and camera people in tow. The tension in the room is palpable. The scooting and shouting continues. The room is filled with the deafening sounds of hammering and drilling. People yelling out for more art, more nails, more anything; with an occasional fuck thrown in for good measure.
Guests slowly trickle into the courtyard where a giant Chinese takeout bag holds court between a towering pyramid of used books and a slightly mangled tic tac toe box set that seems to have gone awry. A jazz band plays next to a graffiti covered cop car and dozens of green painted shoes dangled from the trees. They head straight to the open bar. Its 7:30pm, thirty minutes past opening and the doors to the gallery are still closed. The security guard announces that the show will open in five minutes. Though she’s been
announcing the same "five minute" comment for the past 40 minutes, I doubt anyone notices. (Thank goodness for free liauor). Five minutes later, the doors open.
Once the doors finally open, you walk into a hodgepodge. Graffiti done by the Seventh Letter crew’s Revok, Retna, Saber and Rime cover the walls and stairwell leading up to the second floor where there is a room filled to the brim with stuffed animals and Frankenstein like toys. In the main room, oil paintings and stenciled images å la imitation Banksy adorn the walls. There are a few clever sculptures made out of tvs, cables and old film canisters, but nothing really catches my eye in the sea of the slightly boring. But people seem to enjoy it. From the giant Campbell’s tomato spray can to the pop art imagery of Condoleeza with a Marilyn wig, the overall mood in the room is positive.
The crowd is eclectic. Fashion designer Jeremy Scott shows up dressed to the nines in a fauxedo (faux tuxedo), the Seventh Letter crew has come to enjoy the libations and catch up, photographer/director B+ wanders about documenting the whole scene and I catch up with my old friend Adam, from Tel Aviv. Its a good turn out, people are having a good time, and at the end of the night, the verdict is a positive one. Some of the art has already sold. I head home with aching feet, looking forward to the public opening tomorrow
A new day, a new show. Everything has been moved. Nothing is as it seems. The paint is wet, dozens of more pieces have arrived and at 1pm, the line has already started to form in front. (The show isn’t suppose to start till 7.. And is delayed till 8pm). The Chinese takeout bag has been moved to next to the cop car, the bar is now in between the pyramid of books and a repainted third of a Rubik cube (they didn’t have enough boxes). The car inside has been moved off to the side, the urinal was now near the entrance,
they’ve brought in chairs and couches (a big problem the night before was no where to sit) and the crowd that surrounds Thierry seems to have doubled; a true Hollywood entourage.
By 4 pm the line has started to grow. By 5:30 there are over 150 in line. By 6:15 mayhem ensues and people begin to cut in line to get the free posters that Thierry has promised to the first 200. Its amazing how disgustingly rude people can become when something free is involved. We set up a system where we hand out postcards to the first 200 as claim tickets to receive posters and Thierry, notified that there are over 500 people waiting in line, decided to give an additional 150 prints out to be mailed to their homes. Nothing works out as planned. We’re short over thirty posters at the end of the night.
The show is deemed a success. A blogger from Paper just can’t stop ranting and raving about how fantastic everything is. A correspondent from some New York news agency is drunk in the courtyard listening to jazz. And inside, compliments for the artist’s body of work just won’t stop. "Art magic!" raves a hipster as she explains the deep meaning behind the Campbell’s Angel spray suspended from above. "He wants us to know that his inspiration came from the angels". I swallow down the vomit that has slowly crept up while
listening to her speak. I eavesdrop on another… "The fact that MBW used broken vinyl records to signify that the cd is killing lps…. So genius! Its like its dead but he wants it to live on in his art forever." The crowd of well wishers and ass kissers is mind boggling. Its a spectacle to be sure.
Is it my love of the classics; my adoration for the masters that keeps my feelings at bay for Mr. Brainwash? Am I jaded by the whole street art scene? No, it can’t be. Maybe its because I hate the yuppie idiots that seem to dictate what is art and what it is not by the heft of their wallets that prevents me from falling over in amazement of MBW’s awe inspiring talent? Maybe I’m just a fucking bitch.
Text & Images : Joy Yoon