Mr. Brainwash Stages Exhibit in Miami

MIAMI—Pop artist Mr. Brainwash opened a major exhibition today introducing new work and subjects, as well as a more sophisticated approach to his mixed-media “street art” portraits. Last week several outlets reported receiving a press release indicating that Thierry Guetta, the French born, Los Angeles-based artist known as “Mr. Brainwash,” would stage a solo show during Art Basel Miami Beach. The exhibition opened to the public at 5:00 p.m.

Mr. Brainwash includes several odes to President Obama in the show, including this super hero portrait on the outside of the exhibition space.

The show is in a space at the corner of Collins Avenue and 21st Street with an industrial interior that is particularly suited to the the artist’s Pop aesthetic and manages to elevate the presentation of his work. The exhibit reprises the theme of his very first show in Los Angeles—”Life is Beautiful”—and features several odes to President Obama, a Kate Moss series, a quartet of Michael Jackson portraits, images of Albert Einstein, Jackson Pollack, Muhammad Ali and Billie Holiday, and the requisite chimpanzee works.

A large-scale spray paint can greets visitors as they enter the exhibition. At right, “Everyday Life,” (stencil and spray paint on metal).

Mr. Brainwash first came to wide public notice after the release of the 2010 documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” The amateur filmmaker turned visual artist spent more than a decade shooting thousands of hours of footage under the guise of making of a documentary about graffiti artists, focusing primarily on Banksy. When Banksy, who works anonymously, realized how unwieldy the project had become, he took control of the film and turned the camera on Guetta, encouraging him to pursue the art form with which he was so obssessed. The critically acclaimed film concludes with Guetta, who came to be known as the artist Mr. Brainwash, opening his first exhibition in Los Angeles.

His Miami show is on view from Dec. 6 to Dec. 9, 2012.

All photos © Arts Observer

From left, All three of these portraits are titled “Everyday Life,” as is the chimpanzee work near the entrance to the exhibition. From left, the works are composed of stencil and spray paint on aluminum; stencil and spray paint on canvas; and stencil, spray paint, fiberglass and cement on canvas.

Detail of “Bandidos,” depicts the Beatles.

“Bandidos,” (stencil, spray paint, mixed-media on canvas.

Detail of “Michael Jackson” portrait, one of a quartet on view.

“Michael Jackson,” a quartet of canvases composed of various mediums. Clockwise from top left, stencil, spray paint and acrylic on canvas; stencil and spray paint on wood boxes; broken vinyl records on aluminum; stencil and spray paint on metal.

The exhibit has a “Life is Beautiful” theme and includes works in which the artist utilizes new mediums in his mixed-media works.

“The Sound of America,” (oil on canvas).

From left, “Ali,” (mixed media on canvas); “Picasso,” (mixed media o canvas); and “JFK,” (mixed media on canvas).

“Ali,” (mixed media on canvas).

“Mickey & Minnie,” (stencil, spray paint and acrylic on vintage wood panels).

“Jackson Pollock,” (stencil and acrylic on steel).

“Freedom Kiss,” (acrylic on aluminum), depicts Madonna and Britney Spears kissing.

“Bottero,” (oil on canvas).

A series of black and white works are standing guard outside the exhibition.

Detail of Albert Einstein statue holding “Love is the Answer” sign.

Six Kate Moss works with Billie Holiday in the background.

“Billie Holiday,” (stencil, spray paint, acrylic, fiberglass with cement on canvas).

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