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      Mr. Brainwash Art Museum
      03.06.2023 / Mr. Brainwash
      The Mr. Brainwash Art Museum in Beverly Hills and the second life of Thierry Guetta.
      In December 2022, the Mr. Brainwash Art Museum opened in Los Angeles. The vacant Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, designed by architect Richard Meier in 1996, was transformed into a space for his own work and that of other artists. The museum is located in the former Museum of Television & Radio on Beverly Drive in LA.

      Thierry Guetta has a new, second life and an even greater desire to create a legacy.

      The artist best known as Mr. Brainwash had a near-death experience in 2021 in which his life literally passed before his eyes.

      Guetta started having headaches in 2021, which he attributed to the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. But it wasn’t until he blacked out during a wedding in Mexico that he realized something was wrong.

      “I called my team in L.A. and said, ‘There’s a problem in my head. You have to get me someone, anyone, to see if something is wrong,’” he recalls.

      When he arrived in Los Angeles, a CT scan showed that there was indeed a problem – and a big one: blood in his brain.

      The complicated operation

      At Cedars-Sinai Hospital, he was told he would have to undergo an extremely delicate operation that would involve inserting a tube into his head and closing a vein.

      “I thought, ‘That’s it,’” he admits, recounting that he went to several more doctors for second and third opinions. The headaches kept getting worse. Finally, he found a specialist who told him something incredibly frightening: “He said, ‘There are three things that can happen. One, that everything goes away. The second is that you could become disabled. And the third is that you die.’ That’s it. So imagine that you get that answer. This is your life. How do you get up and walk out of the doctor’s office? My mind started racing. All I could think about was how important life is, how beautiful life is. And have I done enough good things in my life?”

      “Imagine being in the hospital. If Covid is in play, no one can come up to you. Your kids are downstairs and you say goodbye, but you don’t know if you’re going to say goodbye forever. You hug them and start crying as you walk into the elevator, all alone.”

      But before he underwent the surgery, he had another, deeper conversation with himself. “I said to myself, I’m not done yet. I still have so many things I want to do.” And so, when he woke up, his zest for life returned – in the biggest and best way possible. “I said to myself, this is the beginning.”

      What he meant was that this was the beginning of his second chapter, his new life. And as such, he was determined to bring to fruition a project he had begun before the pandemic – the one-of-a-kind Mr. Brainwash Art Museum.

      The Mr. Brainwash Art Museum in Beverly Hills

      “This is a moment in my life that I’ve been working toward for many, many years,” he says now. “I mean, I’m always doing art, but on the side I’ve always done something else that I’ve never shown. For almost 13 years now I’ve been doing this, doing other things. Now I’m doing this for me because after 12 years, it’s time. I’ve been waiting to do something for myself, and this museum is more what I want to do. It’s a little reward for me.”

      Mr. Brainwash Art Museum in Beverly Hills

      Thierry Guetta had already found and rented a prime location at 465 N. Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills and leased it. He was thus the only person who recognized the potential of this building. (The former Paley Center for Media building, designed in 1996 by Getty Center architect Richard Meier, previously housed spaces such as the Aaron Spelling Reception Area and the Garry Marshall Pool.)

      He thought the project might never come to fruition, but he decided to build it anyway – especially after cheating death. “I decided to show it here, and especially to bring it to life,” he explains, sharing, “The museum is the beginning of my next decade. It’s going to be something different. I’m going to go far.”

      The museum means that for the first time in a long time, Mr. Brainwash is doing something just for himself. The Mr. Brainwash Art Museum is the result of his sweat and tears but also his personal journey – a journey marked by highlights like the 2010 Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop; his self-funded debut exhibition Life Is Beautiful, where his work sold for five figures from the start; and his design for Madonna’s 2009 album cover Celebration and Michael Jackson’s 2014 posthumous release Xscape.

      Mr. Brainwash has designed album covers for Rick Ross and KYGO. His artwork such as Cover Girl – Kate Moss has been featured in films and television productions such as Molly’s Game, Billions, Shameless and the Kardashians. His talents are exploited in partnerships with prestigious brands such as Hublot, Mercedes Benz, Coca Cola and Marvel Comics. He has also collaborated with world-renowned soccer player Pelé. He continues to donate artwork in support of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, created murals to commemorate 9/11, and collaborates with Product RED to raise AIDS awareness. Mr. Brainwash also supports organizations such as the Prince’s Trust, which serves at-risk youth. He met with former First Lady Michelle Obama to support her organization, “Let Girls Learn,” which helps adolescent girls attend and graduate from high school. His motto “Life is Beautiful” which can be found on almost all of his motifs such as Einstein or even the famous chimpanzee Everyday Life gained an even stronger meaning as a result. Mr. Brainwash was honored to meet privately with Pope Francis in Rome to raise funds for Scholas, the Pope’s personal foundation for the youth of the world. personal foundation for the Pope that serves the youth of the world. Mr. Brainwash also met the Dalai Lama in 2015.


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      Mr. Brainwash New Works. FRANK FLUEGEL GALERIE, 2022

      Mr. Brainwash lives and works today in Los Angeles where also his museum (465 N. Beverly Drive) in Beverly Hills opened on December 18, 2022.

      FRANK FLUEGEL GALERIE has represented the artist Mr. Brainwash in German-speaking countries since 2012 and was the first gallery in Germany to present his unique pieces and originals. The gallery receives the artworks directly from the artist’s studio in USA. The exclusive and close cooperation with FRANK FLUEGEL GALERIE is also documented on the homepage of the Mr. Brainwash Art Museum, where it says: “Mr. Brainwash remains one of the most prolific modern-day artists, continually spreading his contagious positivity across the world, from New York City to Miami to London to Cape Town all the way to Nuremberg”.

      Mr. Brainwash Art Museum – Van Gogh Room.

      Mr. Brainwash and Banksy – inextricably linked

      When the Paley Center for Media announced it was moving to the Beverly Hills Public Library, Guetta saw his chance. “In my world, the impossible has the word ‘possible,’ so I fought for seven months to get this space. And the moment I got it, I was so happy that I immediately set to work to make it happen. And months later, [COVID] came along. So the house was empty. For two years I completely abandoned it and worked on other things. And a few months ago, I came back and started rebuilding it, because when [I’m done here], this building will be torn down. That’s common at Guetta’s shows, though he swears he doesn’t intentionally choose the locations to be “the last one” or to leave his mark – fate always intervenes to make it so. And while it’s not his plan, he’s certainly not complaining. When I ask him why he thinks his takeovers of places that will soon be destroyed are inevitable, his response is, “It feels like history, you know. “It feels like history, you know? I’m included in history. I’m part of the architecture and the building in Beverly Hills that won’t exist after me.”

      “The story I want to tell is just happiness,” he says. “I want to bring joy to people and make them happy, too. I have love for everybody. My whole concern is, what can I do to make people happier? What can I do to make everything more fun? That’s my art on another level – and also me.”

      Almost everywhere in the museum, there are just huge, oversized works. One room features his tribute to California’s fallen greats – Kobe Bryant, Steve Jobs, Tupac Shakur – all surrounded by the celestial white tools of their trades. There’s a room dedicated to Vincent van Gogh, who appears frequently in his art; a life-size replica of LeBron James; a giant Matchbox car priced at $1. 95 dollars; books, books and more books (some of which we open to find are early 20th century treasures); a nod to Exit Through the Giftshop.

      Banksy has always been a name closely associated with Mr. Brainwash, and not just because the infamous and unknown street artist directed a film about Guetta’s rise to fame. Many believe Mr. Brainwash is Banksy, a claim he will never refute.

      In his sing-song voice, he says, “Am I Banksy? I don’t know. ‘Cause when I say ‘no,’ you say ‘yes.’ When I say ‘yes,’ you say ‘no.’
      Banksy or not, public opinion of Mr. Brainwash is rampant and something Guetta personally has struggled with in the past. But not anymore: now he lives free. He doesn’t need to be liked or admired, constricted or defined by public perception.

      The two works “Balloon Girl” and “Banksy Thrower” refer to motifs by Banksy.

      Mr. Brainwash Smile original Unikat
      Mr. Brainwash / Smile / 2021
      Mr. Brainwash Balloon Girl Medium
      Mr. Brainwash / Balloon Girl / 2022

      “People think they know me, but they don’t,” he explains. “I’m judged by people based on what they see in a three-minute interview.

      He pauses before explaining that he wants the world to know him – or rather, to know as much of him as he will allow – the real Thierry Guetta, the real Mr. Brainwash. “This museum shows a little bit of who I am and that I never gave up. [Most of what I’ve done in the past I’ve done because I wanted to prove something, that I can go beyond what’s asked of me, that I can do something great and take it to another level, [to show that there’s] never been another person like me who’s done something as crazy as I’ve done.”

      This is a museum that will be alive. I can come back here at night and change a few things, add a few things. The space you see today may be different than the space you see tomorrow. It’s going to be a museum that’s going to travel – hopefully to Miami, New York, and Toronto at first – and it’s going to be open at night because I’m going to do a lot of things with a projection so that people can come here after dinner and want to.

      In the meantime, the real story is happening inside these eclectic and vibrant walls. Each artwork here tells the story of the evolution of Thierry Guetta, the owner of a used clothing store and amateur videographer, into Mr. Brainwash, the world-famous street artist and pop culture icon.

      I want to convey that people should believe in themselves and really do what they want in life. It doesn’t matter what you do, but you should do it well and put your heart into it, because at the end of the day, everyone is an artist. A janitor is an artist, the way he holds his broom – that’s art. A businessman, a computer expert – we are all artists. But it’s very important to be real, because being a real artist is not just about what you do, it’s about who you are.
      He points to van Gogh, a personal hero, and says, “He painted all his life, but he never sold a single painting, and he killed himself. But how come, after all this, this man is in every museum in the world and no one can afford his paintings? How come? Time shows who he is: his life, his truth, that he had a passion for something he loved.”

      And that is Mr. Brainwash in every detail, and for that matter, Thierry Guetta. Passion, energy, liveliness – all this can be found in every behavior, in every expression. Because for Guetta, life has always been beautiful. It is not only his trademark, but also his first show, his emblematic art, his way of being.

      “I never get tired of saying ‘life is beautiful’. I never get tired of writing it. I’ve written it almost every day of my life,” he admits. “If you accept that, your life will change. Take today, for example. We’re here in Los Angeles, and it’s raining. The only thing I think about when I hear the rain is that I’m happy. But others who hear the rain will complain, but if we didn’t know the bad, we wouldn’t know what the good is.”

      I look at him for a moment with my visor open. He’s right, after all. (And I was about to complain about the rain. Is he psychic?)
      Maybe not, because he doesn’t know – and he readily admits he has no idea what the future holds – and that’s okay. He wasn’t ready for the end last year, and he’s not ready for it now, but when that day comes, he knows he won’t regret it.

      “I don’t know everything, but I do know this,” he begins. “We’re here today. For me, life is one day at a time. Live today and worry tomorrow. People always tell me that life is too short. And for me, life is very long, because every day is a new life. So imagine this: I live 365 new days a year. I am 57 years old. Do you know how many lives that is? It’s a lot, and I will live a little longer. But it’s important to remember that every day can be different. Every moment you go out, something can happen. So you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. The only thing you know in life is that you’re living it.”

      He smiles – at the empty movie theater, at the Spielberg painting, at The Simpsons, at me – a broad, goofy, typical Mr. Brainwash smile, a Thierry Guetta smile. And he says, “What I’ve learned in life is to be grateful for everything; to be grateful for your life, to be grateful for what you do and who you are. I know you can have more, you can do more, but [you should be] satisfied with what you have in life. Because the real gold and the real diamond are inside you, and that is your health. The rest is nothing. Money cannot buy health. You can’t be a billionaire and say, “Oh, I want to buy my disease to be cured. That’s not going to happen. So enjoy your life every day. Try to do something that you love. Try to see the positive side of everything. Remember that life is beautiful, and beauty is all around you.

      Other famous works of the artist Mr. Brainwash are:

      Vita of Mr. Brainwash

      • 1966 Born Thierry Guetta in France.
      • 2008 first exhibition “Life is Beautiful” in Los Angeles with more than 50,000 visitors.
      • 2009 Madonna commissioned Mr. Brainwash to design the album cover “Celebration”.
      • 2010 breakthrough: Mr. Brainwash became internationally known through the award-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop”.
      • 2010 second exhibition “Life Is Beautiful: Icons” in New York on 1,400 m2 which was sold out after a few days.
      • 2010 art spectacle “Under Construction” on an empty retail space in South Beach for Art Basel Miami
      • 2020 Mr. Brainwash plans to temporarily transform the former Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, designed by architect Richard Meier in 1996, into his own museum.
      • 2022 Mr. Brainwash Museum opens Dec. 18 Beverly Drive in Los Angeles.
      • Mr. Brainwash now lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

      Exhibitions and Shows of Mr. Brainwash

      • 2008 Life is Beautiful, former CBS Studios, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
      • Fader Fort, New York, NY
      • 2009 Worlds on Fire, Pacific Electric Lofts’ Building, Los Angeles, CA
      • 2010 ICONS: Part One, Meat Packing District, New York, NY (solo)
      • 2010 Under Construction, Miami Art Basel
      • 2011 Mr. Brainwash – Life Is Beautiful: Untitled. Art Basel, Miami, USA
      • 2012 Mr. Brainwash – London Olympic Games, London (England)
      • 2013 Mr. Brainwash (from the gallery collection) – 34FineArt, Cape Town
      • 2013 Bambi Street Artist meets Mr. Brainwash – GALERIE FRANK FLUEGEL, Nuremberg, Germany
      • 2014 Mr. Brainwash Solo Show – GALERIE FRANK FLUEGEL, Nuremberg, Germany
      • 2016 Life is Beautiful, Seoul, South Korea
      • 2017 Mr. Brainwash New Artworks – GALERIE FRANK FLUEGEL, Nuremberg, Germany
      • 2018 Mr. Brainwash meets Kitzbuehel – GALERIE FRANK FLUEGEL, Kitzbuehel
      • 2019 Mr. Brainwash meets Tyrol – GALERIE FRANK FLUEGEL, Kitzbuehel
      • 2022 Mr. Brainwash – New Works on Wood, Bricks and Corrugated Metal.
      • 2023/2024 Art in the alps – Mr. Brainwash at Schloss Lebenberg in Kitzbuehel/Austria

      About the author

      Frank Fluegel specializes in high-quality originals of Pop Art, Street Art as well as Contemporary Art. Since 1999 he runs the FRANK FLUEGEL GALERIE with locations in Nuremberg, Germany and Kitzbuehel, Austria.


      03.06.2023 / Frank Flügel

      Mr. Brainwash /