Two shows with a lot in common opened last weekend: Jason Alper’s “It’s All Back On” at the Guy Hepner gallery in Los Angeles and guerrilla graffiti artist Banksy’s new film “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”
Alpsy (not previously known as such) is a friend of mine, Banksy not so much. Or, at least, if Banksy is a friend of mine I don’t know that he’s Banksy. Notorious for his secrecy, Banksy has managed to produce a film that preserve his anonymity. Insofar as the world knows Jason, they know him as Sacha Baron Cohen’s long-suffering, long-splendid costume designer. This current show is a labor of love, but it’s also an attempt to break out of the wardrobe.
What the two artists have in common, apart from strange men in fedoras enabling them, is bags of self-belief and a particularly British distrust of American motives and glitter. In both cases the irony comes across as humor. But, whereas Alpsy is, as the L.A. Times points out, tongue in cheek, Banksy is finger out of fist.