Banksy’s graffiti takes over NYC

SHAWN KENNEY
PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR

The English street artist Banksy has been decorating the streets of New York City over the past month.
Banksy is an English-born artist who is known for his different types of street art. “Street art is an art that is developed in public places,” according to a definition on artrepublic.com. Banksy’s street art can range from spray-painted pieces to sculptures, all of which provoke a sense of thought.
Banksy is currently calling his series “an artists [sic] residency on the streets of New York,” as he stated on his blog. During this residency he created a work each day for the month of October. He posted a photo of each of his works and their locations on his blog each day.
Many of his works that have been in New York City have been spray-painted pieces. It started with his painting of two boys trying to get to a can of spray paint. While the boys were spray-painted by Banksy, the spray paint can was a part of an already-existing sign that said, “Graffiti is a crime.” Another painting was of the Twin Towers when the first plane hit. He did a landscape of the city with an orange and yellow flower as a representation of the explosion of the tower. One of his more recent pieces was simply a line of text stating, “This site contains blocked messages” over covered street art. The piece from Monday was of a robot spray painting a barcode onto a wall.
He has also been doing sculptures in New York City. One was set up outside of different McDonald’s locations for a week. This statue was a fiberglass model of Ronald McDonald having his oversized shoe being shined by an actor who, every day, shined the shoes of the statue. Another sculpture was a slaughterhouse delivery truck with the heads of different stuffed animals sticking out, crying and squeaking. This sculpture was on exhibition for two weeks, starting in the meatpacking district. The latest sculpture was of the Grim Reaper in a bumper car that moved about randomly.
Bansky set up a stall Oct. 13 selling canvases of his works. He was selling them for $60 and made $420. One of his canvas works sold that day was a version of his “Love is in the Air,” which sold for $249,000 at auction this summer.
Banksy has had a difficult time, though, with his works in New York. Some have been destroyed by street artists that tag buildings. A few of his paintings have had some additions made them.
One of Banksy’s biggest critics so far has been the outgoing mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg has expressed his unhappiness with Bansky’s works.
“It’s a sign of decay and loss of control,” Bloomberg said.
Some news reports have said that Bloomberg is on a hunt to stop Banksy. Bansky has only missed one day during this month of art because of police activity.
Some building owners feel honored to have his work on their walls. One building owner went so far as to put gates up around the artwork and hire a security service for it.
Banksy’s goal for this month was not just to decorate New York more than it is decorated already; his goal was to provoke thought among those who observe it. You can see the rest of his New York works on his blog at banksyny.com. Another option is to experience the works yourself and go on The University’s Programming Board’s trip to New York Nov. 16 and to try finding them on your own.

contact the writer:
shawn.kenney@scranton.edu

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