Monday, September 29, 2008

Banksy


This huge mural by the British artist Banksy just went up in SoHo, at the corner of Wooster and Grand. Turns out that Banksy himself didn't paint the side of the building, but instead contracted with a sign-painting company to do it. That's prompted a lot of spirited debate among my Flickr friends about the nature of art, specifically street art, and especially Banksy's work.

Some people think Banksy is the ultimate sell-out for commercializing his name and "brand" on ventures like this. But the way I look at it, virtually any street art could be called self-promotion, and artists have a long history of employing assistants to help with pieces. I don't see anything wrong with Banksy having professional painters put up a huge piece that he designed but wouldn't be able to execute on his own. (Particularly given his famously secretive persona.)

12 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

I agree. Great artists through the ages have had their assistants do the painting. There's nothing new under the sun!

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

So, at least part of the question is . . . is the "art" contained in the idea, the execution, or both? A similar debate goes on with Seattle native and world famous glass-artist Dale Chihuly, who never does almost any of his own work anymore

Barbara said...

The art is in the design, not the execution. Do you have pictures of other Banksy designs? As far as I know there are no written rules for street artists!

Steve said...

B: If you hop over to Flickr and do a search for Banksy, you'll see tons of stuff by him. Rats are a very common theme, but he does a lot of beautiful stencil work of other subjects, too.

Merle Sneed said...

Art is an inspiration, not just the act of physical creation.

Barbara said...

Wow! This rat is quite mundane compared to some of his creations. Banksy is quite prolific and he certainly gets around. Street art is such an interesting niche!

Jes said...

It may be commercial, but that is so so so cute! My rats squeaked an approval too. :)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

controversy aside I love the mural and subject matter..... eek! rodents rule!!

Lulu LaBonne said...

Banksy comes from my city Bristol and we have his stuff all over the place. He is about ideas, politics, his work is reproduceable - in the same way a book is.

d. chedwick said...

well, Keith was secret for awhile before people knew who he was his art was all over the place, before we knew it was haring-- same with Swoon--now we all know who she is, and people help her make her sculptures, it is art to me, whoever takes over the execution of it. Charles Schultz had several guys drawing his cartoons along with him for many years so he could spend more time doing other things while maintaining a daily strip. I heard no complaints about it.

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Wow, how did I miss that. I was walking the opposite direction barely 24 hours ago and should have looked back.

lettuce said...

lots of people over here diss Banksy these days, saying he's sold out.

i'm quite sure a lot of that is sour grapes.