Taglialatella Galleries located at 99 Yorkville Avenue held the opening reception for their Mr. Brainwash exhibit titled Toronto is Beautiful. The event took place within the Taglialatella Galleries space and spilled out on to the front patio shared with Sofia restaurant. The packed venue was filled with excited guests wanting to get a first glimpse at the Los Angeles-based street artist Thierry Guetta’s work, who was launched to celebrity status by the 2010 documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop.
If you haven’t seen the film, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary about the mysterious identity that surrounds international graffiti artist Banksy. The film evolved into something completely different and focused on Guetta’s path through the street art scene to the role of artist himself. It’s worth viewing if you’re a fan of art, or just intrigued by the graffiti scene itself – you even get a chance to witness the amazing Invader (a relative of Guetta) at work too!
The Taglialatella Galleries opened in 1978, and now have spaces in New York City, Palm Beach, Paris and Toronto. They feature contemporary works, but focus specifically on Pop and Street Art. They’re the perfect gallery to exhibit a Mr. Brainwash collection, as Guetta creates pieces constructed of pop culture imagery.
Mr. Brainwash collection at the Toronto is Beautiful show contain many pieces that feature the silent film comic, Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin’s image is layered over poured paint background covering some imagery typically found in graffiti art throughout the world: caution tape, stencil style lettering, and some Keith Haring characters.
Another prominent visual in the Mr. Brainwash pieces are the ever so popular neon lights. I’m actually quite a fan of the With Love All Things Are Beautiful piece, as it is quite stripped down compared to the other works. The painting simply contains the title wording atop a framed mirror with a splash of paint in the background.
Aside from Charlie Chaplin, another popular figure found in Mr. Brainwash pieces is Einstein. What viewers of the work will notice though is that the figures in the paintings are taken from Banksy graffiti pieces – they’re typically holding signs with messages that may feel out of context for the painting itself, but are a commentary on a larger global issue. The great thing about the Mr. Brainwash pieces is that they’re intended to be enjoyed outside of socio-political context, so fans of the pieces can purchase prints solely based on aesthetic appeal.
The price tag on the original paintings is competitive with an international market, so thankfully, fans can grab a print instead at the gallery. Speak to one of the gallery staff if you’re interested in purchasing one for yourself or a loved one!
Walking through the crowd at the opening reception, there was one piece that immediately caught my eye, and it was due to the stripped-down nature when compared to the rest: a Basquiat-inspired portrait. I love that the Taglialatella Galleries team displayed this work against an ornate decorative wall coloured in a saturated red with gold floral print. Great contrast against the light blue linework chosen for the portrait.
The Toronto is Beautiful show is on at the Taglalatella Galleries until August 11, 2019. Make sure to visit the space and check out some of the striking graffiti-inspired imagery created by the Mr. Brainwash artist Thierry Guetta. Don’t miss it!