After taking over the art world since his impressive debut in 2008, the prolific street artist, Mr. Brainwash (aka Thierry Guetta), has now taken over the once-known Paley Center for the Arts in Beverly Hills.
His claim to artist fame and notoriety may not be conventional but fortunately for him he is enjoying the acclaim unlike other artists in the exhibit he pays homage and respect to like Van Gogh. His view of the world “life is beautiful” is outwardly depicted in the pieces on display, and his goal to spread a little happiness and love is achieved with some interactive rooms like the disco room (a room with mirrors on the floors and ceilings, and an abundance of disco balls above you and protruding from the walls), inspiration staircase (a staircase that literally uplifts you one step at a time with powerful and inspiring phrases from some of history’s most notable figures), chalk art room (which invites visitors to take a piece of chalk and leave a positive message or draw artwork of their own for future patrons to enjoy), and the fun house mirror hallway tunnel (fun house mirrors that stretch and compress you to challenge you to view yourself in a different way). He pays respect to artists of old (Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Dali) by merging them with pop culture (Simpsons, Street Fighter, Warhol, the iPhone). Ronald McDonald with Lisa and Homer Simpson sit back and invite you to join them in watching a film as well.
From street artists like Banksy and pop culture giants like Star Wars and Barbie, I can see where he drew his inspiration. Several paintings read “Sorry, the lifestyle you ordered is out of stock” left me feeling like the lifestyle depicted in that painting no longer exists because we live in a different time, a different world, and that you have to make the most of what you have. But it can be taken and spun into so many different meanings depending on the person. His books sculpted into life-size dinosaurs inspired me to open a book to use my imagination while learning from the past. Needless to say, I truly felt like this art hit me in a way I didn’t realize it would. It left me feeling truly happy and inspired. He urged you to wander through Van Gogh’s sunflowers, (the flowers that symbolize happiness) to make you feel like part of the painting, captured in time. Take a photo in either black and white or color to feel like you are both artist and artwork, I felt like this was one of the greatest themes I took away: the feeling that we are all both the artist and the observer or even the artwork itself for people to admire and judge. Time for me to paint some self portraits.
I can understand why celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Madonna commissioned him for work, and why various brands approached him to collaborate: Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola, Stan Lee, etc. He even has a whole line up of huge celebrities (both real and fictional) on the rooftop alongside a painted pool by a Barbie box. (I’ll let you interpret that how you will.) On your way out don’t forget to “Exit Through the Gift Shop” as well. There are some cute things to take home with you.
The exhibit is a must-see, and will be open for another 18 months. Find out more, and check it out today Here!
I leave you with Einstein’s quote that was depicted in a few instances at the museum: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”