Banksy hasn’t been wow’ing street art fans in New York, though he (I’m going to assume it is a “he”) is creating a lot of excitement around street art, which is a good thing. But his latest work, which his website suggests is in Greenpoint, reminded me a great deal of Elbowtoe’s more poignant phrases that he’s been scrawling on the streets of cities (particularly New York) for at least half a decade. Banksy’s work also riffs off a very popular meme that’s been circulating online as long as the internet has been around: it’s called Troll Quotes, which seems fitting for this Banksy.
I visited the new Banksy on the industrial block of Greenpoint and found a group of onlookers and a camera crew already there. I was able to take a few photos before some men from inside came out, measured the door, and proceeded to cover it up to “protect it,” they explained when a number of people asked. A person named Robert Dunning from Park Slope, Brooklyn, offered the man who was directing the crew $1,000 and a new door for the piece. The man, who refused to be identified, asked, “$200,000?” The man was obviously not tempted by the $1,000 and a door. Dunning later told a reporter that he would be happy to hang the door up on his wall.
Now it is being reported that the door has been removed completely.
Btw, is anyone else noticing the weird haloing around the letters in the new Banksy piece? I couldn’t get a good look to figure out why that was happening before it was covered. Street art photographer Luna Park has offered an opinion on the haloing. She suggested that if Banksy had used oilbar, the haloing may have occured with the sun hit the door and melted it a bit. Sounds possible.
Here are some Elbowtoes from years ago that give you a taste of his text series:
I like Elbow-Toe’s better than this current Banksy effort, which seems to strain a bit too hard to be funny. Also worth checking out the poetic aphorisms of Laser 3.14 in Amsterdam; he has been writing these around the city since before the mid 2000s.
$1000 and a new door the guy offered. He’s ready to hang this one on his wall. $200,000 the other guy asks? It’s all about the brand now. The merit of the work as art isn’t even considered. In Seattle there is a street artist named Abot who puts up his cartoon tag along with pithy statements. http://www.flickr.com/photos/fourbank/6047128878/ No one is offering a $1000 for his work. Abot needs to work on his brand building. He doesn’t have to look far: we have a Dale Chihuly museum in Seattle where unsold items are displayed for an entrance fee. Glass objects created by $12 an hour employees branded by Chihuly and sold for serious money. The art market is a scam–the buyers rubes, exceeded in their gullibility only by pro-sports fans who refer to their favorite team as “we.”
Banksy is laughing all the way to the bank and I applaud him for exposing the art world for the sham it is.
It’s no more a scam than real estate, diamonds, or practically anything else.
That the best you can do for a defense of the art market? Do you know who the photographer Jeff Wall is? He creates photos with elaborate and very expensive staging–a $100,000 and more when he could have produced the image for less than a thousand. He sells the photo for a million and thus provides the wealthy buyer a story to tell his wealthy friends when he shows off the photo at home. Wall is not a visual artist he is a story teller.
Banksy is more a con man that a visual artist. He stencils and scribbles… and strings along the rubes.
And then there is Hirst and Wei Wei and… Successful artists are, most importantly, great sales people.
I think you’re fixating on the art market because of a perception that it is at all different from any other market, when in reality is that it is the exact same as the other markets. If there are problems and flaws it is in the market structures, not the art market in particular.
I’ll agree with that. And also pose the idea that your argument here implies that the art market should be held in no higher esteem than, say, the jewelry business.
I didn’t mean that but I do think we have to see it as part of a larger flaw in market thinking.
If my name was Boris Groys and I was writing in 2010 this is what I would say:
“There is no doubt that in the context of a contemporary civilization more or less completely dominated by the market, everything can be interpreted as an effect of market forces in one way or another. For this reason, the value of such an interpretation is null, for an explanation of everything remains unable to explain anything in particular”.
As that is not my name I will just quote the words of said genius.
Maybe thats the point of his new work being so simple and so uninspiring.
OK my dear Hrag Vartanian: let me introduce you to Banksy, you just need to watch “Exit through the gift shop” (available on Netflix) and yes, HE is a HE.
Your tone is condescending. So you without question believe that that “documentary” which has not been fact checked by anyone and created by an artist who is famous for tricking people was done by a man who no one can prove? That’s very trusting of you. Until I have proof, I will always use quotation marks. I actually think it’s more likely that Banksy is more than one person.
I agree, at this point I’m sure “HE” (Banksy as a brand) is already a “THEY” and is been that way for a long time. (no condescending tone added, more like an “enthusiastic one indeed)
Thanks for clarifying.
BANSKY IS A HACK.
BANKSY IS A HACK.
I have to say, it has been really interesting seeing how the different Banksy pieces have been dealt with. There is so much commentary in how people deal with a public space/private property all of a sudden gaining an historical and monetary value. This time the value was bestowed on the the real estate of a business person, with a crew of employees, a nice sheet metal cutting machine and very little interest in public art being available to the public.
At this point if he actually gives a damn, perhaps banksy should start trying to make something like this on the property of the more impoverished. At least then he would be helping someone (assuming they sold it) in need rather than another business asshole with nothing on his/her mind than more money than they actually need.
Hyperallergic… why do you no take a critical stance against his work and his sort of heavy handed statements that would land other in the cringe-bin? I know y’all want your hits, but his statements would be a little embarrassing if they were made by an artist shown in a “gallery”. We know Banksy does illegal actions, but it is it so bad anymore when businesses are wishing Banksy would grace their walls with his “insightful” and “political” commentaries.
“We are all rats and monkies y’all” — Da Banksy
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