Hundreds of people lined up in the cold on Sunday to attend the grand opening of Mr. Brainwash’s “Icons” exhibit in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Astonishingly, most of the diverse mix of hoodrats, art fags, and the cluelessly curious were ardent fans. Undeterred by his negative portrayal in the Banksy film or the naysayers online, they were more than supportive, almost delirious in their affection for the wealthy artist.

In an effort to understand this infatuation with fraud, I descended upon the crowd and mustering my most obnoxious nasal fervor—which is my voice—asked one simple question: “Is Mr. Brainwash a terrible artist or the worst artist ever?”

One part of me likes to believe there’s something I’m missing. Here is this guy who everyone knows is a Banksy prank and yet he still has devotees, but I fear the truth is a lot simpler and more depressing. In a culture where people consider: Kid Cudi hip hop, the cast of Jersey Shore A-listers, and everyone dresses the same, it only makes sense that someone like Brainwash, could be called a “street artist.” Or maybe it’s that he touches every person coming in to the gallery? The mystery continues.

Photos/videos: ANIMALNewYork