In Defense of Mr. Brainwash

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Mr. Brainwash invaded South Beach Wednesday for his second annual "Under Construction" Basel beach bash. The night romped. The two story 25,000-square-foot gallery was filled with MBW's latest works, as well as plenty of vodka, an appearance by the Art Angel, and as many free MBW posters as you could carry. It was more fun than the Basel Vernissage, Bass Museum after party, and the shindigs at the Delano, Raleigh, and Soho House combined.

If you don't know anything about art, you would've said, "WTF!? look at

the Storm Troopers, Mr. Potato Head and colorful prints!" But it's more likely that you know exactly who Mr. Brainwash is -- he's

that guy you love to hate.

It's so easy to marginalize the artist, a French native and current Los Angelite.

He rose to glory on the coattails of Banksy, Shephard Fairey and his

cousin, Invader. He's the Britto of street art. His work lacks substance,

originality, and irony. It's manufactured like the Fed prints money, in

abundance and recklessly. He hires assistants and graphic designers to

execute his ideas, which are stolen from others. His work illicits no

feeling. It's not deep.


MBW is more than capable, outlandishly fun, and dare it be said -- a

great artist! His work is unique and extremely ironic. His social

commentary is as relevant as anyone else in the street art movement.

Furthermore, he's been around since the beginning. The man is hardly an

outsider. MBW takes chances and has put himself on the line more than

anyone. He's a brilliant marketer, a side of art begrudgingly as

pervasive as the creation of art.

He does not hide his face or blur pixeled images of himself. On the

contrary, he's a man amongst the people, hugging and posing for whoever

wants to say hi! Have you ever seen, met or heard Shep Fairey? His

personality is as dry as a tampon. On the contrary, MBW is fun,

accessible, freewheeling and slightly manic, all a recipe for the

enjoyment of art, rather than pretentiousness or stuffiness, which is

all so often the case at openings.

Miami was first introduced to MBW during Scope 2008. He did the big

Obama as Superman mural, the centerpiece of that Fair. He was also seen

outside the Fair, yelling for people to take free posters, running

around like a madman, talking to whomever, and just generally acting

crazy. MBW returned last year, moving to the beach. Let's hope he comes

back next year. His was a perfect party.

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