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Banksy thrives on controversy and has become one of the world’s most well-known street artists, ironic considering his masked and anonymous identity. Banksy’s work evokes a range of reactions: contemplation, anger, surprise, sadness, laughter (and many more, we’re sure).
To react to Banksy’s work, you have to see it. You could see pictures of his work here at The Bare Square, on some other art news website, or at Banksy’s website. For this kind of art, though, it seems best to experience it in person, in the flesh. But where to look?
Now…there’s an app for that.
Banksy-Locations app (from the iTunes store)
We were thrilled when we heard about the all-new Banksy app for the iPhone.
Banksy’s previous apps featured photos of his work, social sharing of street art, quizzes, and more. The new Banksy-Locations app, released Monday, gives the user the locations and directions to Banksy’s work, as well as news feed and phone wallpaper features.
No word on the Droid or iPad version yet, but if we hear anything, we’ll let you know!
(Shout out to Eileen, our stalwart intern, for finding this awesome story idea!)
Many winners and losers on Oscar night. The hosts for Oscar night didn’t impress many, but they did get the desired big numbers in the youth demographic. Exit Through The Gift Shop, the street art documentary nominated for an Oscar, didn’t earn a statuette for UK street artist Banksy.
Banksy could see some relief from receiving an homage from New York City artist Olek. You may remember Olek from our article a while back about her knitted sheath for the famed Wall Street bull sculpture.
As shown right and reported at DNAinfo.com, Olek put together an illicit installation inspired by Banksy, and threaded on an exterior wall in New York City.
Hopefully it last longer than Banksy’s recent creations in LA. One was defaced (can street art be defaced?). The other–well, see for yourself!
Banksy parodied the well-known sign on the border indicating Immigrants Crossing. Here is the “before” photo.
That’s right–someone carved Banksy’s art right out of the wall!
At least Banksy won an Independent Spirit Award Saturday. As for the Oscar, the art world will just have to wait for the next documentary on the art world. The guy who stole Caution might learn something the next movie, How To Sell A Banksy.
Long-time readers of The Bare Square will remember a couple of previous posts about UK street artist Banksy. To get you up to speed, Banksy doesn’t simply tag buildings. No, no, no. Armed with a secret identity (a necessary evil for those doing illegal work), he creates unauthorized public artworks, sensational scenes, thought-provoking spectacles.
The fact that his chosen manner of displaying his artwork is illegal does nothing to undermine just how awesome his artwork is. His work is fantastic.
We can discuss the merits and problems with unauthorized street art another time. Promise.
Anyway, just when the art world thinks it has this anonymous artist-prankster all to itself, he decides to thumb his nose at the film industry. Banksy created a category-bending blend of truth & news (and perhaps fiction) called Exit Through The Gift Shop, a feature length film showing the rise of filmmaker-turned-street-artist, and Banksy’s own transformation into filmmaker. Exit is now nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Watch the trailer by clicking here.
Just last week, in the run-up to the deadline for Oscar voting, Banksy “modified” a billboard in LA advertising Las Vegas-based hospitality management brand Light Group–a billboard that just happens to sit across from the Directors Guild of America Building. In a well-publicized move, Banksy added his sardonic twist to the luxury lifestyle, showing American icon Mickey Mouse in a rather unflattering light. It was taken down within hours, but the point was made, the goal accomplished.
The Light Group said it was honored to have Banksy attack their billboard. “We thought it was really flattering,”says Beth Bartolini, director of public relations. “We picked a great spot for our billboard, and he thought so too. It was one of our generic billboards. It’s much cooler to have Banksy tag it.” Said another spokesperson (probably before the PR person took over), “We’re extremely [expletive]. It’s our billboard that got tagged, it’s not their billboard. CBS clearly has ZERO appreciation for art. We were flattered Banksy tagged on our ad – it was epic.” FYI, the Light Group now has the tagged billboard in its possession, and it’s probably worth a LOT of money now.
Bansky appears to be hanging around LA until the Oscars, and may bless the City of Angels with more awesome artwork. In the video below you’ll find a less-heralded, newly minted, and just-as-amazing, Banksy work called Crayola Machine Gun. Remember you saw it at The Bare Square first! (See all of Banksy’s new California work here.)
The latest news is that Banksy’s concealed identity won’t be revealed onstage at the Oscars, regardless the outcome of the Febuary 27, Sunday night broadcast. Because of Banksy’s preference for making public appearances in disguise, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that it has informed Banksy that he will not be allowed to attend the event at all. Boooo! (The plot thickens. In late-breaking news, waffling AMPAS Prez Tom Sherak said they don’t “ban” nominees, but they would prefer if he didn’t wear the mask. Stay tuned…)
Rest assured, whether Banksy wins or loses, he’ll be be partying it up in LA. In his words, as quoted by The Guardian newspaper in London: “The last time there was a naked man covered in gold paint in my house, it was me.”
What do you think? Will Banksy show up? Will he reveal his identity? What will he do with the Oscar if he wins? Please comment, like, and share! (And if you haven’t seen Exit yet…try and see it before Sunday. Win or lose, it’s a must-see for art lovers and the art-curious.)
Recently, an eBay listing briefly teased the auction-buying set with a tantalizing offering–the heretofore secret identity of elusive and anonymous street artist, “Banksy”.
As we’ve mentioned previously in The Bare Square, Banksy is the street name of a U.K. street artist and director of Oscar-nominated 2010 film, Exit Through The Gift Shop.
Claiming to have divined Banksy’s actual name from corresponding megamillion dollar art sales and tax records, seller “Jaybuysthings” promised to deliver the identity of the artist to the highest bidder.
eBay pulled the listing, citing a violation of its terms of service: eBay doesn’t allow the sale of intangible objects. When eBay pulled the first listing, the bidding had reached $1 million.
Soon after its removal, “electricf331″ relisted Banksy’s identity, this time reduced to a name on a slip of paper. Again, eBay removed the listing.
This smells like another clever stunt by Banksy.
The Oscars are just two weeks away. We’re pulling for Banksy–whoever he is.
In Schnack’s new e-mail interview with the artist, Banksy claims surprise over the skepticism surrounding his film.
EXIT transitions from a documentary about street art by an eccentric amateur camera operator named Thierry Guetta, to a documentary about a camera operator who becomes a street artist. Many have questioned the authenticity of parts of the film.
Without a doubt, everyone should see this film. Jen & I found it funny, clever, and intelligent.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
But, because I’ve worked with actors, directed film projects, and witnessed the evolution of visual artists first hand, I have to conclude that the entire second half of the film, while not scripted, is highly staged and deftly constructed. Despite Banky’s vehement denials (He doth protest too much), EXIT is not a documentary. EXIT is the most clever piece of ongoing performance art ever devised. Put another way, EXIT is an improvisational documentary performance art film–a high-brow “punk’d”–and you’re the star.
Here are the giveaways.
1) At the point where Banksy “takes over” the editing of the film, he suggests (around late 2007/early 2008) that Guetta make some art, invite people for some wine, and have an opening. Guetta (or someone else?) chooses the name “Mr. Brainwash” and produces a massive 15,000 square foot gallery opening with over 200 works of art in a matter of months.
Thierry Guetta, aka "Mr. Brainwash" from banksyfilm.com
Having worked with solo artists, artists who use assistants, and assistants themselves, I find it impossible to believe that Guetta, a person with no background in art whatsoever, could conceive such a vast and interesting body of work. “Guetta’s” style is all Banksy and Shepard Fairey because it IS Banksy and Shepard Fairey, or at least their ideas. Again, they ride the fine line so they can with a straight face still call EXIT real, but at that stage they clearly conceived of the aesthetic and Guetta was a proxy. The film is very clear that Guetta used assistants, but this kind of art is highly vulnerable to external direction–and it was externally directed.
2) For the first half of the film, Guetta shoots street artists in their natural environment because of his claimed obsession with a camera. However, when Guetta becomes the focus of the film, no explanation is attempted as to who is shooting Guetta. There is also no explanation as to how someone who supposedly shot years of his life suddenly quit cold turkey.
3) The editing and plot points of EXIT’s second half became highly conventional and scripted. Guetta’s broken foot, the successful LA show, denunciation by Banksy and Fairey–have you seen Trading Places?
4) While I love the shadow and voice-disguised Banksy (iconic imagery meant to remind you of 60 minutes or 48 hours), Banksy’s “interviews” lack candor and spontaneity, and no wonder. Banksy is a much better artist than actor.
Banksy in silhouette from banksyfilm.com
*** END SPOILER ALERT ***
All that being said, EXIT is a great, great film. A great commentary on pop culture, art snobbery, media power, street art, and film, EXIT is now streaming on Netflix.