UK Street Artist/Graffiti Writer Banksy‘s month long New York City Residency and installment “Better Out Than In” comes to an end today. Touching all 5 boroughs of New York City, the artist has been installing 1 new work of art a day (with the exception of Oct 23rd, when he canceled due to “police activity”), turning NYC into a “Banksy” manhunt. Documented on his website http://banksyny.com. Of course, as the hype built, so did the love/hate. Either people getting to it and buffing his work or landlords placing pexiglass over to preserve it (probably in hopes of one day selling the piece and making bank off of it). Some writers even joining in on the fun (shout out to RD 357 with the tag over the fire hydrant on his midtown stencil piece).
His final installment spotted in Queens near the Long Island Expressway (already gone thanks to NYPD) a throw up in bubble letters spelling out his name “Banksy” next to other throw ups (actually on the wall) but each letter a balloon made to blend in. On his website, an accompanying audio clip describing the piece.
The month long residency has been controversial with NYPD Vandal Squad threatening to catch him and lock the artist up, while on the flip side the internet/art world going nuts trying to find the next installment of his month long exercise.
The Village Voice recently published an “interview” (if you can call it that), with the artist (via his publicist) discussing his month long residency and art.
In answer to our inquiry about his vision for “Better Out Than In,” and how and why the project was conceived, he writes, “There is absolutely no reason for doing this show at all. I know street art can feel increasingly like the marketing wing of an art career, so I wanted to make some art without the price tag attached. There’s no gallery show or book or film. It’s pointless. Which hopefully means something.”
Asked what he has been doing since his Oscar-nominated documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, was released in 2010, Banksy says he has “been learning to make big sculptures out of clay—partly because it’s a challenge and partly because after a year in an editing studio I wanted to do something standing up.”
Banksy says he visited New York “a couple of months ago” to scout locations for the October show, but he “returned to find most of the empty lots I planned to use have got condos built on them already.” He is now living in the city—not surprisingly, he won’t reveal where he’s holed up or how long he plans to stay—and he hints at a lack of a formal plan for when and where new pieces will be installed this month.
The more permanent element of the works—and the part that helps to confirm their authenticity—is an accompanying toll-free phone number that dials an “audio guide” created by Banksy. The first recording features cheesy elevator music and a stoned-sounding narrator welcoming listeners to Lower Manhattan. The male voice casually warns that the work has “probably been painted over,” and informs listeners, “You’re looking at a type of picture called ‘graffiti,’ from the Latin ‘graffito,’ which means ‘graffiti’ with an O.”
“What exactly is the artist trying to say here?” Banksy’s narrator asks. “Is this a response to the primal urge to take the tools of our oppression and turn them into mere playthings? Or perhaps it is a postmodern comment on how the signifiers of objects have become as real as the objects themselves. Are you kidding me? Who writes this stuff? Anyway . . . you decide. Please do. I have no idea.”
Read the entire interview with the Village Voice here: http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-10-09/art/banksy-better-out-than-in-new-york-residency-street-art-graffiti/full/
Along with a photo and audio clip of today’s last installment, his website also posts a photo of “the official Banksy New York residency souvenir T shirt”
(you have to take the jpeg to a copy store and make it yourself) the website instructs.
Along with a final message: “And that’s it. Thanks for your patience. It’s been fun. Save 5pointz. Bye”
So that does it for Banksy in NYC (for now.) What were your thoughts on his month long residency? Did you enjoy the art? Did you hate the hype? Did it inspire you or anyone you know? Let us know in the comments.
Check out the entire “Better Out Than In” installment on banksyny.com