-I love his work.
-I have a fascination with his subversive acts.
-I'm confused by his highly (in)visible persona.
Jon and I attended Banksy's "Barely Legal" art show last weekend, and were blown away by both the astonishing artwork and the hoards of teenage girls with their moms. The industrial gallery was a perfect fit for Banksy's asphalt canvas, and the works' presentation was methodical and highly detailed.
Obviously Banksy's work is highly charged, which I really enjoy; however, walking around a crowded space with Kristen Dunst, I felt a little thrown off. Questions started cycling through my head that are applicable to all political/subversive art. Do Hollywood stars discredit Banksy's work by buying his paintings? I'm not claiming to have an answer, but it is a very valid question, considering the nature of Banksy's work. He is very vocal regarding the exceedingly wealthy, and the false god of celebrity; however, he is making a large sum of money from his art (painting at $100K), and has created a intentional aura of mystery regarding his identity (tons of videos). His art is so aggressive that it feels necessary to know his position. If Banksy is ok with these paradoxes surrounding his work, then I'm ok with it also - I've just never heard his philosophy. Shepard Fairey (of Obey) works for Corp. America by day, and subverts the very same companies at night. Everyone has their balance.
Since I drive around LA a lot for work, I have become compelled with the poster/graffiti art that springs up all over the city. The nature of the medium gives each piece a great narrative. How in the world did Shepard get that 10 foot Obey Giant on the side of that 5 story building? Did he get away? It also begs ethical questions. Where does an artist stand on personal property damage? Banksy has talked about his work in public spaces being justified by the legal presence of multi-billion dollar advertising companies. These artists are the anti-hereos of our generation, but their rising notoriety has the potential to remove the venom from their fangs. I have faith in them though.
Here are a few Banksy themed songs to get you through the middle of the week:
[mp3] The Clash - Death or Glory
[mp3] Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK
[mp3] The Streets feat. Pete Doherty - Panging Out
[mp3] Rage Against the Machine - Bullet in the Head
[mp3] CSS - Meeting Paris Hilton
For more great photos visit Supertouch.