There has been a lot of negative talk circulating around the MBW Life is Beautiful exhibit. Someone has been leaving negative comments about the show on various blogs including GraffHead.
I read a reply by Justin Murphy who actually worked on the exhibit. His reply originally appeared on the Known Gallery website.
I got in touch with Justin and asked if I can repost his comment here. I also asked if he wanted me to post pictures to promote his own work. He was very humble: "I actually never wanted any recognition from the public, I just enjoy people in awe at the spectacle that MBW created."
The MBW show will be open this weekend, July 5 and 6: 1-9PM. I encourage if you have not seen it go and form your own opinion.
Here is Justin's original comment:
The fake here is actually this "Juan Rodruguez". If you people want to really know whats going on, here's the deal: Jaun Rodruguez, is not a short fat bald man, who disappeared into the background while we were working, because I talked to EVERYONE involved with this show, and this rant that Jaun goes on makes it crystal clear to me, that someone is out to expose MBW. But guess what? You cant. It is true I built that giant paper bag, We worked our asses off making a giant pile of books, and 3 giant spray paint cans, Did you really think that one man could do all of this? With a broken foot at that? Of course not.
I have been working on this show since April when I met MBW. He came to my shop and talked about the ideas he had for this crazy art show. They seemed far fetched, but I told him anything is possible. My buddy Adam (who introduced us) and I made the first giant spray can, and brought it to him. Then MBW realized that we too were artists, and he could see that we were perfectly capable of bringing his ideas to fruition, without strict direction. Yes we even bounced ideas back and forth, in improved upon the things that he had already conceptualized. I have worked with this guy for the past two months, and I can assure all of you people, he IS an artist, just like the rest of the team that set out to produce this show.
The amazing part is, none of this would have happened without this man's vision, and its very true, that it wouldn't have been such a huge success without the team of artists, that he recruited from yes, Craigslist. Juan says that like its a bad thing, but look at the outcome. Who knew that this group he whipped together would work so well with each other, and be able to pull off what is now turning out to be one of the hugest art spectacles LA has seen in years? In fact, our whole team is planning on working together again to create more incredible art experiences, in other cities. MBW is a machine, and our team is the oil that keeps it going. As far as copying work goes, yes alot of the imagery existed before it was put on a canvas or print in the gallery, in fact most of it did. Thats the point of the work, He is taking cultural icons you see everyday, and mixing them together to make you think, remember, become nostalgic.
You know who else does something similar? Shepard Fairey. http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Obey/index.htm. But who cares? That is a common practice for artists and designers. Shepard is inspired by old propaganda, and MBW inspired by pop culture, both of these guys are talented artist, who deserve to be respected for what they are trying to do in the art world. If you think mbw isnt an artist, you should study up on Duchamp, he could barely draw, most of his work was found objects he just signed. And what educated artist cant recognize his name?
Brainwash's show is titled "Life is Beautiful" There are no negative icons, or imagery in the whole gallery, the experience you have when you enter the space is meant to be a positive one. Shame on you "Juan" for trying to turn this into something negative. What was accomplished by this man was not all the art in the space, that's crazy to even think of one man taking on. It was the fact that he got all of us to pool together our collective thoughts and ideas, and directed us well enough to work together, and create the show in such a short amount of time. The man deserves praise, he doesn't have a bad bone in his body. All he wants is for people to enjoy an art experience, and for people to be happy.
Frankly, I'm more than proud to say I helped, and was a part of it. But i really didn't need credit for the work, I'm just happy to see people enjoying it. If anyone has any questions regarding any aspect of the show, feel free to ask me personally, firstname.lastname@example.org. As far as Juan is concerned, I'm sorry about whatever it is that filled you with so much animosity that you had to blog all over the Internet about MBW being a fake. You should try and relax a bit and enjoy LIFE, after all it IS just art, and LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL. Oh, and no matter how hard you try, you cant stop what MBW has started, because we wont stop.