I discovered Bansky by the blog/website honestlywtf.com which is in some ways a forecaster for new art, music, and cultural trends. I knew relatively nothing about the idea of street art, but I found Banksy's work appealing because it was ironic and unexpected, and at times very funny. And because the website is well respected in the art world, I thought that the artist had to have some legitimacy. So when I saw Exit Through The Gift Shop years later online, I thought that I would give it a try. The documentary focuses a bit on the street art movement at first, but eventually becomes a commentary on what art is in general. Oddly enough, though, I began to question the concept of art I had somewhat early in the documentary. When I first saw Shepard Fairey's works, I immediately recognized them. From the Obey sign to the iconic Hope Barack Obama poster, the works were not foreign in the least bit, although I did not even recognize Fairey's name or face. As someone who has always been involved in art, to have seen a respected Artist's work and not given it acknowledgement as art even, it was an odd phenomenon for myself.
Commercialism is infiltrated for certain in art today. However beyond commercialism, we have graphic design, street art, and architecture putting art where we never expected it to be possible before. I believe that the street art movement is one of the defining moments in out society. We are becoming less a "gallery" community of art viewers and expect now art almost everywhere we look. Aesthetically, this is pleasing, but it will be interesting to look at one point in the future and observe how the artists have changed in their appreciation and desire to take credit for their works, which seems to be a dying desire in real art.