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Banksy Takes Aim at Fastfood Giant, Tribeca Banksy Becomes Memorial [UPDATE 3]

by Hrag Vartanian on October 16, 2013

MCDONALD-640-banksy

An image of the new All City Banksy (via banksy.co.uk)

A new — and yet another traveling — Banksy has been unveiled today. Part sculpture, and part performance piece, the work featured a person shining the shoes of an oversized Ronald McDonald. The official Banksy website explains:

A fibreglass replica of Ronald McDonald having his shoes shined by a real live boy. The sculpture will visit the sidewalk outside a different McDonalds every lunchtime for the next week. Today: South Bronx.

Rumors are already starting about its first location, which at least one person has suggested is near Yankees Stadium — we’ll confirm that fact when we can.

StealBanksyNY.com, a website that encourages people to steal the Banksys in New York, has posted the exact location, suggesting it is currently at 839 Westchester Avenue, in the Bronx, by the Prospect Avenue 2 and 5 train station, at the intersection of Westchester Avenue, Longwood Avenue, and East 160th Street.

Now we’re not so sure of the Westchester Avenue location. Instagram user @mount99 just posted  video of the piece and judging by the video it is unclear if it is the same McDonald’s as one commenter on the post is suggesting the work is at Boston Road and Seabury Place in the Fairmont-Claremont Village area of the Bronx, which does resemble the location of this video:

The Instragram post on the official Banksy account refers to the piece as “All City,” which in this case means that the work is intended to travel during the next week to many different boroughs.

The shoe shine boy is an old and potent symbol of inequalities in society. The contrast of a poor youngster with his wealthier patron cuts to the heart of issues revolving around income inequalities and exploitation.

Recently, fastfood workers in New York and across the country have been organizing against McDonald’s and other chains to protest unlivable wages. In August, roughly 500 people gathered outside the McDonald’s on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue chanting “Si Se Puede” (“Yes, We Can”) and “Hey, hey, ho, ho $7.25 has got to go.” The protest spread to 50 other US cities and approximately 1,000 restaurants.

Tony, a twelve year old bootblack at his station in Bowling Green, New York City. photograph by Lewis Wickes Hines, 1924.

This photography by Lewis W. Hines portrays Tony, a twelve year old bootblack at his station in Bowling Green, New York City, 1924.

9/11 Tribute Altar

Yesterday, I predicted something peculiar might happen with the Tribeca Banksy, since 9/11 is one of the sacred cows of New York. Last night, images of a memorial with candles and flowers started circulating on social media, suggesting that the piece was indeed being treated different than the other Banksy works.

In related news, an Instagram user @lastsuspect has taken the flower from the work and posted an image on the social media site. Many users are chastising the user for doing something, one user said, is “fucked up on so many levels.”

@lastsuspect initially removed the image, which was posted by another user in the meantime, but he has since reposted the image and added a bizarre video about the plastic flower, which is posted below.

Update 2, 12:48pm: The letter at the Tribeca Banksy plead with “Haters” not to disturb the piece:

Update 3, 3:15pm: Someone appears to have asked for the “shoe shine boy’s” autograph and got this:

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  • PaigePyramid

    ZZzzzZZzz … banksy is very much a reflection of our current culture: boring, numb, unemotional and devoid of any style — this is why he is so infamous, not because the work is superb. he’s a puppet show for the simple minded.

    • http://hragv.com Hrag Vartanian

      You’ve spammed the site with the same comment on two different posts. Please stop doing that.

      Also, if you are trying to place Banksy in the old paradigm of art object maker, than you’re obviously missing the point. This is a new type of spectacle and he’s on the cutting edge of it. Whether you like it or not is another story.

      • PaigePyramid

        you’ve posted multiple banksy articles in an effort to get more viewership…therefore i wouldn’t have said the same thing twice. repeating myself once is considered spamming? lol. repetition my friend, is my friend.

        oy! mate! he is an object maker. are you so blinded by hype? ie: ronald mcdonald sculpture, stuffed animals in an work truck, fake scenery in a work truck, a single flower on a spray painted stencil, etc. all stale attempts of the past. no style … just context.

        get real mate! your precious “art world” is a tiny village. a tiny retail industry with tiny minds sucking the shaft of mediocrity. welcome to the brainwashed generation. are you an art critic or a hype humper? enjoy your white walls and white wine surrounded by white people.

      • Brian Fernandes-Halloran

        Thank you! This is exciting, interesting, ballsy work. Every new banksy piece has made my day, and Hyperallergic’s attention to it is nothing that needs to be defended!

    • Yes.

      hahahahahaha wow dude you are a bitter old d-bag. Is he my cup of tea? no, but this is just misguided vitriol.

  • The Bronx Art Exchange-NYC

    finally.

  • http://www.mattjonesrules.com/ Matt Jones

    Banksy is the tritest, laziest, most obvious illustrator of duh in a long time. Stop paying attention please.

  • Robert Stevens

    I took that image down. Didn’t want that creep on my feed. Here it is.

  • PaigePyramid

    lol mate! art is a mirror. the world is your mirror. every bathroom has a mirror. use it!

    • Yes.

      Profound.

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