Banksy is well known for his use of rats and this particular example discovered in Wall street in 2008 is a great example. In a play on the famous quote attributed to Marie Antoinette, he proclaimss “let them eat crack” in commentary on the public outrage at how financial matters were being handled around the time. Needless to say it was soon painted over!
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Graffiti Is a Crime is the first of Banksy’s pieces from his month long ‘residency’ in New York City in October 2013. The piece incorporates his distinctive stencil technique and pokes fun at the law by incorporating an anti-graffiti sign. However, within hours of it being posted on Banksy’s Instagram profile the sign which played an integral part of the piece had been stolen and by the next day city officials had painted over the work. The piece was located in the city’s Allen Street. Graffiti is a Crime location
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The piece can be read in many ways. In one respect, Banksy is advocating for a sexual-identity accepting society by placing icons of authority in a pro-gay position. His use of policemen, rather than ordinary citizens, is intriguing, because the very subjects of his tender portrayal are often the ones to working to eradicate his vandalism. While some believe that he is poking fun at policemen, showing them in a vulnerable, intimate moment, others read the work more positively, as showing a human side to the police force, and emphasizing the strong bonds that exist on the police force between partners and teammates. The work is an undeniable testament to Banksy's use of irony to challenge us to build a bridge of understanding between expected enemies of ideology.
Banksy, who "is not represented by any of the commercial galleries that sell his work second hand (including Lazarides Ltd, Andipa Gallery, Bank Robber, Dreweatts etc.)", claims that the exhibition at Vanina Holasek Gallery in New York City (his first major exhibition in that city) is unauthorised. The exhibition featured 62 of their paintings and prints.
With site-specific works like Hammer Boy, Banksy and other street artists encourage viewers to envision urban spaces, surfaces, and objects differently, and to see fun and whimsy in otherwise mundane spaces. In this way, street artists have much the same mentality as skateboarders or people who practice parkour. For all of these groups, city spaces and surfaces are not restricted to their prescribed uses. Instead, participants feel the freedom to co-opt and repurpose the urban environment. A fire hydrant is not just for holding water, it can also become a child's plaything. A handrail is not only for holding and supporting oneself, it can also become a tool for enacting daring acrobatic feats.
In April 2014, he created a piece in Cheltenham, near the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) headquarters, which depicts three men wearing sunglasses and using listening devices to "snoop" on a telephone box, evidently criticising the recent Global surveillance disclosures of 2013. This was only confirmed by Banksy as his work later in June 2014. This piece 'disappeared' on 20 August 2016 during renovations to the building it was on, and may have been destroyed.
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Banksy is without doubt the world’s most famous and celebrated graffiti artist. To some, his works of art are poignant, thought-provoking, ironic and humorous. To others, it is just plain vandalism. Whichever side of the fence you are on, there can be no doubt that he is a very talented and clever artist and conveys his views in a way that many of us could not manage to do. I have put together here a list of the best Banksy graffiti art and street art pieces, with as many as possible showing the various locations of his artworks and with Google “Street Map” views where applicable. So here goes….
The Barton Hill district of Bristol in the 1980s was a scary part of town. Very white—probably no more than three black families had somehow ended up there—working-class, run-down and unwelcoming to strangers. So when Banksy, who came from a much leafier part of town, decided to go make his first foray there, he was nervous. “My dad was badly beaten up there as a kid,” he told fellow graffiti artist and author Felix Braun. He was trying out names at the time, sometimes signing himself Robin Banx, although this soon evolved into Banksy. The shortened moniker may have demonstrated less of the gangsters’ “robbing banks” cachet, but it was more memorable—and easier to write on a wall.
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