Sometimes you need a change from the MET and the MOMA, and Mr. Brainwash injected a breath of fresh air with his street and pop art. Hopefully, you were lucky enough to visit this Mr. Brainwash ICONS Remix in the Meatpacking District before he picked up shop and headed back west to LA. His popularity has been soaring the past few months, as the documentary Exit through the Gift Shop has become more widespread. Mr. Brainwash a.k.a. Thierry Guetta is the French filmmaker turned artist through the advice of the infamous street artist, Banksy. There are theories on the movie being a hoax and and apart of Banksy’s master plan, but with all joking aside, The ICONS Remix was a clever and colorful homage to celebrities, rockstars, artists and actors of our time.
Upon walking in, I was welcomed by Mr. Brainwash himself with a huge smile and hug. Oh, the French, they’ll melt you every time. Thierry prefaced the beginning of our gallery experience with “think of this as a massive trip through time” and allowed us to help ourselves to poster prints at the end to commemorate the visit.
The scent of fresh paint was in the air, glistening vinyl shards, bright graffiti scrawling, and explosions of creativity were a visual overload. One could see why there was such an overwhelming demand for the exhibition to remain open for a timely period. A pricey Herman Miller Eames lounge chair drenched in paint with that special Mr. Brainwash touch was center stage and evoked many dismayed gasps. Huge paint cans and spray cans were scattered about the space and so large that you’d want to climb into and be swimming in Mr. Brainwash’s creative juices.
As you explored and got lost within Thierry’s world, there were animals and other famous figures were made from rubber tires and even, a life-sized Matchbox car in the form of a real NY taxi cab. His work is playful, eye-catching, and at times cerebral and statement making. Iconic faces of Madonna, Kate Moss, the late Michael Jackson, Yoko Ono and the late John Lennon, Woody Allen, and many more superstars fill the walls along with messages of love, life, and art. My personal favorite was the very witty play on Toulouse Lautrec’s At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance’s painting with Michael Jackson with the mantra “Live to the Fullest” emblazoned above the piece.
The expansive 15,000 sq feet space was located at 415 West 13th Street, and ran for months and months, remixed in May and finally came to an end this past October. If you missed out on the extended exhibition or didn’t get the chance to catch his Under Construction during Miami Art Basel, you can still see some of his pieces at the Opera Gallery on Spring Street. I hope you walk out from the experience with a revitalized look on art, partly smitten, and are able to comedown from your pop art high and fine art fix.