"BANKSY: WALL AND PIECE"
by Cynthia Rodriguez
Banksy. I don't even know where to begin. He is truly one of my art heroes, influences, and inspirations. I'm sure you have admired some of his work and didn't know you were looking at a Bansky piece. Who is this Banksy you ask? He is a brilliant, intelligent, revolutionary, visionary, political street graffitti and subversion and installation artiste and prankster and world traveller and life size stencil artist extraordinaire. He has taken this ill-reputed art form to a whole new level. He has raised the bar for all street artists. His art is truly FOR the people. Out in public for all to see, and enjoy. No admission fees, no censorship, no hoighty-toightiness. His work is both entertaining, and thought provoking. In his own words, "People either love me or they hate me, or they really don't care".
I recently had the pleasure of purchasing one of his many "coffee-table" picture books with what is known to be the best collection of his work in one book. I needed a break from all the heavy duty, deep reading I've been doing lately, and was just craving a big, fun, art book to digest. I found it during the last BOOK SLUT CLUB at the book store and I couldn't take my eyes off it. I knew I needed to buy it. I truly got my money's worth, and then some.
They are many arguments for and against graffitti and subversion art. Personally, I love graffitti. Not all, but some. I consider it an artform. Like any other medium, there is good and bad. It depends. Personally, I prefer pieces with a political thread. I definitely believe there is a time and place and purpose for it.
Banksy, originating from Britain has certainly created his share of political art, poking fun at authoritative figures such as the local police to the government. I absolutely LOVE that. He has also used figures such as his signature rats and monkeys and other unlikely subjects to make poignent statements about society.
He has also created some exquisite street installation pieces that I wasn't aware of that are just as powerful as his wall art. One such piece was his version of Stone Henge made of portable potties. That makes me smile every time I think about it.
He has snuck into places such as zoos into certain animal's cages and inserted signs that say things such as "I'm bored".
He is also infamous for sneaking in his subversion art into famous museums in NYC and in Europe. Some have hung for several weeks before anyone even realized they were not part of their legitimate collection, a fact I find very amusing, and I believe it says alot about these places, how they are run, and the art society. Some of his pieces are now part of some of those museum collections. How 'bout that?
An excerpt of an example of one of Banksy's subversion art piece statements he left at a museum of his "stone age" art:
"This finely preserved example of primitive art dates from the Post-Catatonic era and is thought to depict early man venturing towards the out-of-town hunting grounds..."
Bansky, his true identity is supposedly unknown, including his real name. In this day and age of the internet, paparazzi, and all types of media, I find this alone to be a true feat. At first considered an art outlaw, is now a very sought after artist. People capitalizing on this urban legend, are selling posters, prints, t-shirts, and everything else you can think of. They even sell "I AM BANKSY" t-shirts. I wouldn't be surprised if they were selling W.W.B.D ("What would Bansky do?") bracelets.
If you are a fan, and/or want to know more about this fabulous rebel artist, you have to own this book. It's a must. It will become a favorite among your collection. It is absolutely one of my favorites now.
Whoever, and wherever you are Banksy, and whatever you're working on now, keep on keepin' on. As far as I'm concerned, you are a true artist and hero of the people.
(side note and correction having nothing to do with this review: I have been a little too generous with my "star rating". Just for the record, I am changing my "Wuthering Heights" star review to 2 stars, instead of 3. Two stars meaning "poor" read, Three meaning "average/it was alright" read. Thank you.)
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