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Banksy Takes Bristol
June 12, 2009 11:18 PM   Subscribe

"This is the first show I've ever done where taxpayers' money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off."
posted by shoesfullofdust (49 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I *heart* Banksy's stuff. Great sense of humor and a sharp eye for social commentary.
posted by hippybear at 11:32 PM on June 12, 2009


Banksy: Wow! What bad art. And in such poor taste too. You know, we're gonna get a lot of telephone calls and letters about this one. And why not? Every Bristolian has a right to complain about that artwork because every Bristolian *owns* a piece of that artwork! Screw you, taxpayer.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:35 PM on June 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Banksy Stages Surprise Largest-Ever Exhibition in Britain.
posted by ericb at 11:36 PM on June 12, 2009


I love it! Great idea.
posted by archagon at 11:47 PM on June 12, 2009


So he.. defaces existing works of art (or reproductions of)? I've never heard of this person before, so I don't really get it. From what I've seen of his art, it looks like someone took those demotivational poster memes and made it.. real life.

Further investigation will be needed. Off to Google.
posted by Malice at 11:51 PM on June 12, 2009


So, doesn't that make him essentially a sellout?
posted by delmoi at 12:49 AM on June 13, 2009


So he.. defaces existing works of art (or reproductions of)? I've never heard of this person before, so I don't really get it. From what I've seen of his art, it looks like someone took those demotivational poster memes and made it.. real life.

He's a graffiti artists who did some cool stuff at one point.
posted by delmoi at 12:54 AM on June 13, 2009


if he put a monkey in a suit stencil on coca cola packaging, then he'd be a sellout.
this is just a institutionalized version of appreciating his work.
yes, despite his anti-establishmentarianism.
posted by blastrid at 12:55 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just as a born and bred Bristolian (moved to California this year), my favorite urban art show will always be the 2007 "12 Days of Xmas" show* - the people running it not only held a raffle for kids charities, but held it in the central city abandoned police station. It was the definition of groundbreaking, and a lot of fun. If you're ever in Bristol pre-Christmas and they're putting one on, it's worth a visit.

I'm kind of sad that I'm missing this show in particular, it would be the first chance I'd get to see his work off the street in a way he wants it to be seen. But I don't miss the wank that surrounds Banksy. He's a talented guy, and is in the position a lot of people wish they could be, but holy crap... the more famous you get, the more shit the monkeys throw.

*[It's hard to find specific links to photos thanks to the consecutive exhibitions, but if you're curious, start on the last page of Flickr]

On preview:

So, doesn't that make him essentially a sellout?

Think of it more of as an art refund. Bristol City council spend a lot of time trying to remove graffiti, even when it's legitimate and wanted by the building owners/surrounding community. (Also, I believe entry is free to a lot of parts of that museum on a general basis.)
posted by saturnine at 1:05 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wish I could visit the museum. I'm not a fan, per se, but this looks compelling.
posted by maxwelton at 1:15 AM on June 13, 2009


I saw the BBC report yesterday morning, and I'm toying with the idea of making a trip down to Bristol pretty much just for this exhibition. One can debate back and forth the merits of his artwork on an intellectual level, but the simple fact is that a lot of the things you glimpse in said BBC report just make me smile. I think that's a result.
posted by Dysk at 1:25 AM on June 13, 2009


It looks like fun.

Art should be fun.
posted by bardic at 2:54 AM on June 13, 2009


Banksy's art is always attempting to teach us a perspective lesson.
I love how he is still (semi) anonymous.

The links were wonderful TY shoesfullofdust.
I can never get enough of him
posted by will wait 4 tanjents at 2:59 AM on June 13, 2009


Banksy goes to Palestine images and video.
posted by adamvasco at 3:28 AM on June 13, 2009


I lived in Bristol 20 years ago during my undergraduate degree. I wandered into the museum one day and was blown away. I still remember it. Very enjoyable visit. If I were still there, I'd be at the exhibit in a flash.
posted by idb at 5:59 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is the post title another Letterman-esque jab at the family of our future Glorious Leader? Shame, shoesfullofdust, shame!
posted by Evilspork at 6:00 AM on June 13, 2009


Awesome.
posted by rottytooth at 6:03 AM on June 13, 2009


I guess Banksy no longer needs to sneak his art into museums.
posted by rottytooth at 6:07 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a Hurricane Katrina refugee, I would like to add that Banksy did some wonderful work in New Orleans.
posted by jazzfestus at 6:19 AM on June 13, 2009


From the scrape link: Mr Davis said the building's owner had "every right" to sell or exhibit the Banksy graffiti - as long as it was removed from the wall.

...Isn't that a blatant Catch-22? Or is there actually a means by which that would be possible?
posted by rifflesby at 6:27 AM on June 13, 2009


Guardian review of exhibition & some more pics
posted by criticalbill at 6:28 AM on June 13, 2009


I LOVE Banksy.

At his worst, he's trite and obvious. But at his best, his social commentary and presentation is razor sharp.

I use his "Let Them Eat Crack" banker-rat as my desktop.

Thanks for the post.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:44 AM on June 13, 2009


Wow, from the last picture

"None of the works is for sale and the show has been entirely funded by Banksy himself"

I love how he just wants to show people his stuff.
posted by scrutiny at 7:04 AM on June 13, 2009


Bansky Takes Bristol

First it was Letterman and now...
posted by Webbster at 7:41 AM on June 13, 2009


They mentioned on the news that the Head of Tourism for Bristol has spent months coming up with a plan to get people to visit Bristol this summer. Turns out she needn't have bothered.
posted by Helga-woo at 9:09 AM on June 13, 2009


That looks like a really fun exhibition.
posted by everichon at 9:19 AM on June 13, 2009


I thought Banksy was identified a few years ago - was that another hoax?

Banksy has "sold out" for a long time now. Though his previous art shows have been more along the lines of oldskool raves (convening at an illegal location for a brief while, instead fo setting up a proper arrangement), he's netted interested from celebrities (I rather like the pic of Angelina Jolie next to the elephant's arse) and people have tried to auction fake Banksys. He's designed an album cover for Blur, and published a number of books (though the first 3 were self-published, and being resold for top dollar). As blastrid said, this is just an "institutionalized version" of his past displays.

The interesting thing about this set-up is that there seems to be a lot more to the installation than his other more clandestine shows. Too bad the reporter in the video was such a twat about it.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:31 AM on June 13, 2009


Wow, there's some great stuff here.

I particularly liked this one.
posted by Malor at 9:50 AM on June 13, 2009


Bleah, pedagogic art.
posted by signal at 10:09 AM on June 13, 2009


Love Banksy. He's so edgy. Like, some bourgeois establishment artist would just paint a picture, but Banksy does a picture and then he, like, scrawls on it or rips a bit out. Sometimes he has a really penetrating idea like "THE POLICE ARE CRAP AMIRITE?!" and then he channels it into a sculpture of, like, an elephant with a turd on its head to represent how this society in which we are living is a bit like a turd. A turd on an elephant's head, like the Israeli-Palestinain conflict sort of if you think about it, kind of. And the best part is he's like totally unknown and unknowable, nobody knows who he is, he's like an unknown, unknowable force (although the administrative officer at the Eton alumni office sometimes thinks she has an idea). He's like the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Art World, if you sort of know what I'm saying, but a Scarlet Pimpernel with a rat on his head, in the shape of a policeman.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:57 AM on June 13, 2009


Do any fans of Bansky want to articulate why they think his work is great rather than simply clever?
posted by nímwunnan at 11:59 AM on June 13, 2009


I know why Banksy thinks his work is great. He's made a lot of money out of it.
posted by tapeguy at 12:21 PM on June 13, 2009


I have no idea if it's great or not, nimwunnan, and I'm not really a fan, haven't not been exposed before. But that picture I linked to a few comments back made me laugh out loud -- it changed from a fairly routine painting to a whole bunch of possible stories all at once. There's just a remarkable number of things that could be going on there, and I found it quite delightful to imagine some of them.

Painting that make you laugh are at least good. Maybe not great, but good for sure. The fact that I both laughed AND wanted to tell stories about the image makes me suspect that it is, in fact, great.
posted by Malor at 1:00 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


My little cousin got me a book of Banksy art for Christmas once and I thought it was pretty cool.
posted by danb at 2:17 PM on June 13, 2009


I'm certainly not good at expressing what I think about art, but here goes:

I think Banksy is great rather than simply clever because his work demands a shift of reference. It doesn't work on just one level like, say, Great Housewives Of Art, which I think is merely clever (albeit a wonderful book). Banksy forces the viewer not only to confront the piece they are viewing, and the wit or puns or other humor contained therein, but the surrounding cultural milieu which then serves as some kind of feedback mechanism and sort of makes it all echo around and take on layers of meaning.

It all seems a bit like sloganeering or t-shirt design at first, but when I look at a collection of his work, I find a sense of melancholy hiding underneath it all. This mix of melancholy, wit, social commentary, and universal appeal* is what helps him transcend to "great".

*I live in the US, and find his work speaks to me quite effectively. There are undoubtedly layers of meaning which I cannot grasp because I am not part of the culture upon which Banksy is commenting. Yet, even without that, he manages to speak about art, culture, and politics in a manner which spans "the pond". That alone is a huge achievement.
posted by hippybear at 3:06 PM on June 13, 2009


How is selling your art "selling out"?
posted by archagon at 3:19 PM on June 13, 2009


I thought Banksy was identified a few years ago - was that another hoax?

i think banksy is, in this respect, like jandek: somehow, the anonymity is part of the persona, and the person behind the persona is less important than the persona itself. ergo, even if you know who he is, nobody really cares.

i wasn't familiar with banksy's work until he visited new orleans. i must say, i find his work quite charming, and, at times, provocative. is it great art? i dunno, i wouldn't know great art if i saw it (or heard it; see jandek comment above). but i find it enjoyable and that's pretty much what i care about.
posted by msconduct at 3:20 PM on June 13, 2009


and regarding his trip to new orleans: i thought it was particularly astute of him and hilarious to me and most people i know that he did several pieces that directly address the grey ghost: a dipstick vigilante with a paintbrush fearlessly fighting graffitti wherever he finds it. in a city with no shortage of social & political issues to lampoon, i loved that he honed in on that one.
posted by msconduct at 3:32 PM on June 13, 2009


I think his Pet Shop installation was great.

By the WAY, anyone from Philly here ever been to The Standard Tap and see those altered thrift store paintings by R. Horsebutt? That "Car In A Field" painting (2nd to last one) totally reminds me of one of those.
posted by orme at 6:45 PM on June 13, 2009


I got a kick out of his Disney thing.
posted by exogenous at 8:18 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Banksy is cheeky revolt. Kissing police revolting against the stodgy/homophobic standard, looking through or going over the West Bank wall, the rise of the rats and the revenge of chimps. He's taken what is commonly seen as base vandalism (graffiti), and focuses on the statement (usually). His name is out there, but that's just part of the tags and presentations. The tags aren't just about getting his name out there (but it does). He also made a "mashup" of the oddest sorts, hacking up Paris Hilton's album, and placed in in branches of HMV and Virgin as well as independent record stores (image set).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:33 PM on June 13, 2009


The exhibition is about 10 minutes walk from my house so I'll go on Monday and report my findings back to the blue...all I can say in the face of the criticism of Banksy here and elsewhere is that this 'secret' show has generated a huge amount of excitement in Bristol. His work may not be subtle or abstruse or in any way 'high' art but it seems to speak to people on a visceral level and DOES, in an undeniably witty way, make people ask questions about social conventions and cultural orthodoxy. I think that makes it successful art, no?
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 2:06 AM on June 14, 2009


it seems to speak to people on a visceral level and DOES, in an undeniably witty way, make people ask questions about social conventions and cultural orthodoxy. I think that makes it successful art, no?

Only if you see art as a subset of Propaganda.
posted by signal at 6:51 AM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't subscribe to the notion that the sole purpose of art is to provoke or free us from our deluded bourgeois complacency, but Banksy makes me want to create something, and I think he has that effect on a lot of people.
posted by mecran01 at 7:51 AM on June 14, 2009


Only if you see art as a subset of Propaganda.

Appropriately snide, but incorrect. Propaganda &ne "expresses views with which you disagree".

(A great deal of art, both high and low, has a political dimension.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:15 AM on June 14, 2009


"&ne" previewed correctly as "not equal to" but didn't post that way.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:17 AM on June 14, 2009


Heard about this on Friday morning and went down to check it out, it was still closed but some security opened a side door and none other than Banksy walked out with a couple of his friends, congratulating themselves on a job well done. Which was a pleasant surprise.

There were also 45 minute queues to get in the museum this afternoon.
posted by george_morgan at 11:32 AM on June 14, 2009


Propaganda &ne "expresses views with which you disagree".

Appropriately condescending, but incorrect. I agree with most of Banksy's views. I just dislike the way he chooses to preach about them, and the fact some people think art is supposed to be preachy propaganda.
posted by signal at 2:08 PM on June 14, 2009


Some cool pictures from the exhibit
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:28 AM on July 5, 2009


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