Another day, another Banksy in New York City, and today’s Easter egg popped up on Ludlow Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. A strange vision of horses with camera-lens googles rearing up by a car covered with cowering humans, the work is Banksy’s largest New York work to date. Three stereotypical oil barrels, one labeled “BOTH,” another labeled “BARREL,” and a third with the #BanksyNY information line stenciled on it, frame the scene.
One local man mentioned that the site’s fence was covered up with a blue tarp until it was unveiled today.
The messaging is heavy handed, and the recorded message that accompanies this work (call 1-800-656-4271 #5) is drawn from the infamous Wikileaks video of “collateral damage” (h/t @aymanndotcom), showing a US Apache helicopter attack in 2007 that killed Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, driver Saeed Chmagh, and several others in a public square in Baghdad. The figures in Banksy’s work, which resemble classical forms, are covered with crosshairs, which also appear in the Wikileaks video, and one figure appears to hold some sort of large stone in his hand. A black oil-like liquid is splashed around the site. There’s no doubt this is about the many wars for oil and our never-ending thirst for black gold to power the vehicles of our violent civilization.
Outfitted with visors of some type, the horses have blank, emotionless expressions and appear to be on the verge of trampling the cowering figures below. Perhaps that’s Banksy’s goal: to make the animals appear mechanized and blinded by technology.
While I was looking at the new LES Banksy, I witnessed a number of people sneaking onto the site by climbing the fence topped with barbed wire. From what I could see, none of the trespassers appeared to damage the work, but they did enter the unlocked door on the passenger side of the car.
Red Hook Work Under Plexiglass
If the Lower East Side’s Banksy is getting all the attention, in Red Hook, the man who owns the wall with the red heart balloon, Vassilio Georgiadis, has decided to preserve the work by placing it under plexiglass.
Georgiadis also plans to install lights and properly seal the work. He told our Hyperallergic source that if he had seen someone tagging it in person, he would have “kicked his ass.” When our source asked Georgiadis why he buffed previous work on the site and has decided to keep this one, he explained that the other work, mostly tags, “was just text, I couldn’t read it.”
The proud new custodian of the Banksy said he had never heard of Banksy before last week, but he now loves his work. Georgiadis appears to enjoy the attention his wall has received from Banksy tourists, and he told our source that he even put out pizza for onlookers who visited the wall yesterday.