Thursday, May 10, 2007

Banksy Was Here

The invisible man of graffiti art.
by Lauren Collins, New Yorker Magazine, May 2007

“Show Me the Monet,” spray-paint and oil on canvas. Denise James, a project officer with the anti-graffiti organization Bristol Clean & Green, calls Bristol “the graffiti capital of England,” but admits a grudging affection for Banksy. “I like the one where he’s got a picture of a stream and a bridge and he’s just dumped a shopping trolley in there,” she told Lauren Collins, referring to this image in the style of Monet. “I can relate to that, because we’ve got a problem with shopping trolleys.”

Whoever he is, Banksy revels in the incongruities of his persona. “The art world is the biggest joke going,” he has said. “It’s a rest home for the overprivileged, the pretentious, and the weak.” Although he once declared that “every other type of art compared to graffiti is a step down,” in recent years he has produced his share of traditional works on canvas and on paper, suitable for hanging indoors, above a couch. His gallerist in London, Steve Lazarides, maintains a warm relationship with Sotheby’s, authenticating Banksy pieces that the house offers for auction, and thereby giving Banksy’s tacit endorsement of their sale on the secondary market. In February, Sotheby’s presented seven works by Banksy in a sale of contemporary art. “Bombing Middle England” (2001), an acrylic-and-spray-paint stencil on canvas, featuring a trio of retirees playing boules with live shells, was estimated to bring between sixty and a hundred thousand dollars. It sold for two hundred thousand. (“Bombing” is slang for writing graffiti.) Last month, a painting titled “Space Girl and Bird” sold at Bonham’s for five hundred and seventy-five thousand, a Banksy record. Ralph Taylor, a specialist in the Sotheby’s contemporary-art department, said of Banksy, “He is the quickest-growing artist anyone has ever seen of all time.” Banksy responded to the Sotheby’s sale by posting a painting on his Web site. It featured an auctioneer presiding over a crowd of rapt bidders, with the caption “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit.”

Read the full article by clicking here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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