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Banksy’s latest series of interventions in the New York City streetscape continued apace today. This afternoon the artist revealed on Instagram that a mural in the Midwood section of Brooklyn that had come to widespread attention last week is in fact his doing.
The mural is a characteristically coy commentary on capitalism, although it is accompanied by a smaller piece that depicts a seal. The pair is located in Midwood, at Coney Island Avenue and Avenue I. The larger one features what looks like a real estate developer (equipped with both a briefcase and a hardhat) brandishing a whip in the shape a rising red line graph, while a procession of children, a woman, an elderly person, and a dog flee. Nearby, a smaller mural whose connection to the theme of gentrification is indecipherable, features a seal balancing a ball — formed by the unpainted circle where a sign used to hang — on its nose.
When I arrived in Midwood to check out the rumored Banksy around 6:30pm on Friday, a handful of people were shooting photos of the mural and taking turns posing with it. Over the half-hour I was at the scene, several more arrived in their cars, pulled into the vacant lot — a former Mobil gas and service station — snapped a few photos, and left. One group even staged an impromptu photo shoot in front of the seal mural, which is on the actual former service station; the gentrification-themed mural is on the exterior wall of a neighboring pre-school.
When I spoke to a man named Shehine who works at the Sunoco gas station across Coney Island Avenue from the murals, he said they’d been painted several days earlier, perhaps as early as last Saturday (March 10), and that many people have been coming through to take photos. Though the gentrification mural is classic Banksy — perhaps even a reference to the Trump Village properties in nearby Coney Island — the seal seems more impromptu and unusual. Maybe Banksy was on his way to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island.
Update, 3/20/2018, 5:45pm: Banksy has confirmed on Instagram that the seal mural at the Midwood gas station is indeed his work, as well.
Update, 3/24/2018: The larger of the two Banksy murals in Midwood has been defaced and partially obscured by gray paint.