Monday, November 4, 2013

Goodbye @Banksyny

This is My New York Accent, Bansky, #NYC, #streetart, #notquitegraffiti
This is My New York Accent,  @Banskyny
Sadly, October 31, 2013 was the last day of Bansky's artist's residency in New York City -- Better Out than In.  And, oh what a run it has been.   In Expedition Bansky, I recounted my first foray in search of a piece of his art.  For 31 days he had us New Yorkers racing uptown and downtown and from borough to borough, all in search of his daily artwork.  On at least one day, most every one missed out on the art.  That's the day that the elusive British graffiti artist put prints on sale for $60 at a stand outside of Central Park.   He sold very few pieces.  Hopefully,  those folks that did purchase one have now figured out that they have won the art world equivalent of the lottery.

Banality of banality of evil, #Bansky, #NYC, #art
 Banality of the banality of evil, @Banskyny
Bansky certainly lived up to his reputation as an artist provocateur.  People were miffed by the "NYTimes-rejected" OpEd that he subsequently posted to his Web site (read all about it in the HuffPost).  And his Housing Works Thrift Shop donation set off a conversation about whether he should have painted a Nazi into a bucolic pastoral scene.  A local news channel was out interviewing folks about the piece on the day it went up at the 23rd Street Housing Works.  Their question?  Are you offended by the Nazi?  Wouldn't it have been more pertinent if they focused on the point he was making?  That evil walks among us in plain sight.  The world knew about the Holocaust and quietly ignored it until it no longer could.  These days, the world continues to ignore atrocities and governments sometimes seem quite insulted when called out on the fact that they are doing so (recent case in point?  Syria).   And then there is the size of his donation to Housing Works. The piece sold for $615,000 -- that's a great gift to give a very worthy charity.  Thank you @Banskyny!

Banality of banality of evil, #Bansky, #NYC, #art 
CloseUp:  Banality of the banality of evil, @Banskyny
My personal favorite day of the whole month is around a Bansky I never got to see in person.  Waiting in Vain. the door of the club.  It appeared on the door of the Hustler Club on the 24th of October.  By early evening the blow torches had come out -- I could see them as my cab flew up the Westside Highway on the way home.  Shortly thereafter, Waiting in Vain had been carted away for safe keeping and future display inside.  Really Bansky?  You couldn't have seen that coming from a mile away? So now your public art is going to only be seen by your employees and those customers (mainly gentlemen I suspect) who frequent the Hustler club. Sigh.

Untitled, aka Hammer Boy, Bansky, #NYC, #streetart, #notquitegraffiti
Untitled, @Banskyny
Kudos to the owners of the building at 79th and Broadway -- they simply covered up the Bansky with a piece of Plexiglas and left it for us to enjoy.  I love this piece alone (Untitled, above) but I love it even more with the pose this woman struck for her memory of seeing this art.  Reminds me of a mother looking on as her little boy tries to ring the bell at a carnival.  Priceless.

Delivery Truck, #Bansky, #NYC, #streetart
Delivery Truck - @Banskyny
Of course, there were some pieces where this interaction did not really make sense given the subject matter at hand.  Delivery Truck is a case in point.  It's a piece that first appeared in the meat-packing district and then wandered the streets making unexpected appearances here and there.  It is a tough subject -- animals going to slaughter.  Yet, even the newspaper photographer covering the art stopped and posed for a photo with her camera phone before rushing off to submit photos (or whatever newspaper photographers do these days).  Maybe this is because there is something charmingly disarming about the stuffed animals that he used.  Until you hear the banging from inside the truck that is.  

I'm going to miss this guy.  He made every day into a giant scavenger hunt -- even those days when I couldn't get out there and scavenge myself, I could follow along on #Instagram and #Twitter.  He sparked debates and excitement.  He exposed any number of people to street art and likely created some fans in the process.  Thank you @banskyny.  You can come back and visit anytime!

I leave you with The Reaper -- a piece that I traversed the city to see on what was supposed to be a lazy Sunday night.  It was worth the trip.

A very bad video capture of the Reaper, @Banskyny

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