Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Better Out Than In": Banksy in New York City

"A separate installation is expected each day. Each location is announced on the artist's website, though he will only give the general vicinity. It's a bit of a scavenger hunt for fans of the elusive artist."
Banksy announced on his website that he is undertaking "an artists residency on the streets of New York" this month.

At least one of the works is gone already, altered by other graffiti artists and then whitewashed. The picture, done on a wall in Chinatown, showed a barefoot boy with a cap standing on another boy's back, pointing at a sign that says, "Graffiti is a crime."

He's posting pictures of his work on the website (and an Instagram account called Banksyny) and fans are plastering the images all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Though he's not providing exact locations, those who happen to come across the works are trying to spread the word.

Banksy is calling the New York City effort "Better Out Than In," a reference to a quote by impressionist Paul Cezanne, "All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside."

His website includes a toll-free number and an online "Click here to listen" button with commentary on each image that spoofs the pre-recorded cellphone tours commonly offered at museum exhibits. The commentary mispronounces his name as Ban-sky and is read against a soundtrack of cheesy elevator music.

Banksy -- who refuses to give his real name -- began his career in the British city of Bristol spray-painting local buildings. His works now fetch thousands of dollars around the world, but many of his street paintings have been defaced, destroyed or removed.

The Daily Telegraph, a British outlet, has created an online map to try to keep track of the images. The Museum of Modern Art posted links on its Twitter feed with a "Banksy watch" tag.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that graffiti ruins property and is "a sign of decay."

More information:
» "Better Out Than In" Official Site
» The 2010 Time 100: Banksy
» Banksy did the same thing in L.A. in 2011

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