As I am sure many of you have heard (and if you have not, then I am jealous that you have been hiding under a rock, curled up and well-rested), last week Mr. Banksy managed to pull a new one on us.
Shortly after the hammer came down on the item for the final bidding of $1.2 millions dollars, the canvas of “Girl With Balloon” by famous anonymous artist, Banksy, began to pass through a shredder installed in the frame. The alarms went off, the staff took away the painting in panic and now a week later, the painting’s value raises another million dollars and the woman who bid on the painting decided to keep it, half shredded and all.
Since his Tate Gallery stunt of 2003, this guy (or girl, because everything is possible nowadays), has been in the headlines for years after. Never before had something like that been attempted in reputable museums. In 2013 he came back with his Better Out Than In exhibit, where he made all of New York his museum institution that housed his artworks. Then in 2015, he produced the unhappiest place on earth, Dismaland, where he gathered a group of fellow street artists and created a (literal) theme park filled with themes of apocalypse, anti-consumerism, and pointed social critiques on celebrity culture, immigration, and law enforcement. Lastly in 2017 with his Walled off Hotel experience in Bethlehem, West Bank where he constructed a hotel with the “worst view in the world” across an alley from the 26-foot wall that separates Israelis from Palestinians.
Many criticisms of his work revolve around its being inherently negative, critical, derivative, only interesting to dumb people (looking at you,
As for me, Banksy is and always will be one of the most important artists in the history of art.
The reason I believe he is important is not only through the messages he/she/they portrays (now I am assuming it is a collective group of people), but the way that those messages are portrayed. Banksy’s art has long been rife with political overtones, as he once told his friend, the author Tristan Manco, that he likes “the political edge” of his work. “All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history,” he said. “They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.”
Indeed, Banksy seems to be mounting his own revolution against the social politics of the world. But even though politics and activism are frequently referenced by artists (both little-known and famous), the immediacy and accessibility of Banksy’s politically-inspired work makes it especially potent. “All art is political in some way, but Banksy always has that quick response,” Rachel Campbell Johnston, the London Times art critic, told The Daily Beast. “It’s prominent because it’s in the moment and visible to the public. He uses art as a weapon. I think many artists use politics in order to get into galleries, whereas Banksy does the opposite.”
While some art critics think Banksy’s art is too obvious, others think his on-the-nose political one-liners are genius. It is very sharp, almost like a political cartoonist joke that you find in newspaper columns with a punchline.
Another thing that makes Banksy one of the most important figures in art history is that even though his artwork fetches hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction without his consent, Banksy gives it away for free. He/she/they isn’t/aren’t represented by galleries (that we know of), and as a result, he’s/she’s/they’re entirely in control of his/her/their own narrative.
At the moment, the value of his artwork is skyrocketing by the second. Already his famous shredding has been adapted into pop culture by McDonalds, Perrier, and even IKEA.
— Mazu Resortwear (@MazuResortwear) October 10, 2018
— Perrier (@Perrier) October 9, 2018
I personally cannot wait for the next time we get Banksy’d… AGAIN.