Is Thierry Guetta/Mr. Brainwash Merely a Banksy Product?

Most of the joy of street artist extraordinaire Banksy, well beyond his sometimes all-too-familiar artistic critiques of society’s ills, is when he does something you’re never quite sure is for real or not. Such has become the case with Exit Through the Gift Shop, his directorial debut which was all the rage at Sundance, despite what you might believe about his distribution deal for it. This week, the NY Times questioned how authentic the movie was, after it had started screening recently in New York. Following that, New York went straight to the source of the debate and interviewed the star of Exit, fellow street artist Thierry Guetta, who many suspect (including the Times) might simply be an actor on the Banksy payroll, created as a method of making fun of the art world and its hangers-ons. If you’ve found you’re hungry for an interview where nothing is said, save for strangeness, and more questions are formed than answers by the end of it, here’s your read for the day.

Earlier, you said that, like Madonna or Oprah, you’re going to build a school with your proceeds? What proof do you have of that?

You cannot know. I can open my heart to you, or I can be a villain. [Maybe] I can grab the money and count my money and I say, “Oh, I joke them.” But somewhere I’m a believer.

Yes, someone like Jeff Koons employs actors to create his pieces. But that’s not the same as an actor playing a guy who runs an art studio. Are you someone else acting as Thierry Guetta?

The problem is I don’t understand really the question: Are you an actor to interview me? How do I know?