Published on October 23, 2013 | by Rosie Atkin

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‘Better out than in’ as Banksy would say

ALN interactive editor, Rosie Atkin [Seren Jenkins]

Banksy is running riot in his newest playground: New York.

For one month, he is showering the city with hilariously blunt installations, making a mockery of consumerism, the government, the internet; making a mockery of us all.

And we love it.

I love it.

The British street artist has managed to remain anonymous in an age of relentless social media hype, despite the fact that his unmistakable style is almost omnipresent in its replication.

Ignoring all conspiracies and ‘revelatory’ leaked identities, he takes the image of a naughty urban school boy – intelligent and mischievous, challenging the hypocracy that we are all guilty of. He ridicules us to our own enjoyment.

Before you ask, no, I do not fancy Banksy. Although that would be a pretty edgy fantasy.

Alas, for his latest game, he has outsmarted us once more by harnessing the weapons of technology to use against us; by creating a whirlwind of social media, the public is encouraged to interact with his art.

Through Instagram, Twitter and an effortlessly engaging new website, he proves that he has wrapped us around his little finger.

His guerilla artworks have been creeping out of the brickwork overnight throughout October, leaving the New York City reeling in a haze of excitement and gossip, and reducing Mayor Michael Bloomberg to a seething mess.

On October 1, a dim grey wall in Manhattan had its 15 minutes of fame as two cheeky young boys appeared spray-painted and snatching at a sign reading “Graffiti is a crime” – well, Guardian writer Jonathan Jones did describe Banksy as “a genius of the obvious”.

But why should he hide behind a shroud of confusing concepts? While his whole identity is a guessing game of riddles and contradictions, it is refreshing that his art is clear and confrontational.

The world is aware of each debate Banksy is addressing, and the internet does not permit us to ignore the news.

His alarming installation on October 9 left very little to interpretation; rattled horses in night-vision goggles were shown tearing through erratic clouds of black paint, above a graffiti’d clapped-out car.

Looking closely, I can see soldiers in renaissance-style poses, looking to the heavens with heroic divinity; or fear.

Following the dithering of the US and UK in their decision on taking action in Syria – and ultimately the verdict not to intervene – it seems timely that Banksy’s capsule of war and terror speaks loudly of the blind nature of conflict and of the lack of urgency surrounding the matter.

The world is aware of each debate Banksy is addressing and the internet does not permit us to ignore the news. Yet, we are in limbo.

As the month progresses, his works are becoming starker, more obvious, humorous and importantly, accessible.

October 11 saw cuddly toys trapped in a cattle lorry, cruising around the city for two weeks.

“The Meatpacking District” is so crudely accessible that even children could be attracted to the fluffy pastel colours poking through the ugly slits of the crate.

But look and listen folks, it is obvious for a reason.

Perhaps in order to penetrate the seal of ignorance, Banksy must resort to these tactics; and then follow it up with a giant Ronald McDonald receiving a shoe-shine.

I implore you to follow the final weeks of Banksy’s New York residency and find the meaning behind his work because, when you look, it is not hidden.

A trail of destruction is following each fleeting piece, giving his residency a time-limit.

The topics, whether he presents them with humour or bold seriousness, are urgent.

So analyse his previous work and laugh with him before it gets defaced.

Because it is all a laugh really.

That’s why he has turned around and sold pieces worth thousands for a mere $60.

Don’t hate him because of his popularity, for he is using his profile to play havoc with our conscience.

Like I said, he is making a mockery of us, of himself, of it all.

And we love it.

 

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