One of the truths of the universe is this: We only know how much we don’t know. How else was I expected to open up an article about one of the (arguably) most infamous anonymous street artists of this decade?
It’s easy for things to get a little muddled when it comes to the “man” whose name has been not so gracefully gracing the headlines, while stories of poverty and lack of affordable housing in an increasingly expensive city were pushed to the inside fold, but that is neither here nor there.
Banksy has taken art outside of the stuffy sterile gallery walls, and dare I say, made it fun again. For the entire month of October, the UK-based artist has taken residency in NYC and is sprinkling graffiti and pieces of mobile art throughout the city in an “off the wall” exhibit titled “Better In Than Out.”
How do we know it’s him? He posts the new art on his Instagram feed, and a clue as to which neighborhood it’s in, using social media to turn NYC’s residents and tourists alike into pawns in his game of real-life scavenger hunt…and we’re intrigued.
While we aren’t sure if Banksy is indeed one person, a design collective, or the biggest practical joke ever played on the walls of this city, his art has spoken volumes about the state of NYC, some of it charming and some of it alarming. Most notable was the stunt Banksy played while the rest of the city was off looking for his pieces on walls: he set up a stall in the park selling 100 percent authentic original signed Banksy canvases for $60 each. Hundreds passed the artwork without a second look, and not one of those who purchased the lucrative paintings knew what they had in their possession.
The pieces thrown up on the sides of building walls, abandoned buildings and hung under overpasses are typically defaced by NYC graffiti artists within hours, if not minutes, of completion – but that, of course, is the name of the street game in NYC. And NYC isn’t letting Banksy have his residency without some people paying their dues.
Check out what happened when some art lovers found themselves trying to catch a glimpse of a rat in East New York:
We have no idea what any of it means, but we do know this: Banksy and this whole movement is very provocative, and it definitely gets the people going.
Check out some of the art he has posted in NYC in the gallery below. For more info, head over to Banksy.co.uk.