Banksy Strikes the Holy Land

Banksy BalloonThe UK’s artist, Banksy just finished a trip to Palestine, where he tackled the blank canvas that is the West Bank barrier between Israel and Palestine. Wooster Collective has a gallery of photos of some of his work. Truly striking. The Guardian has a brief article about his trip, and a gallery with a few additional photos. Wired magazine also just recently came out with an article on Banksy, highlighting some of his work.

I think he’s truly a brilliant artist, and every new piece he comes up with is as thought-provoking as the last. Unfortunately I’m a bit disappointed that he is never referred to as an artist without adding numerous qualifying adjectives to the word. “Guerilla graffiti artist,” “Spray can prankster,” “hacking the art world,” and the worst yet, “a self-described ‘art terrorist.'” Why would you descsribe yourself as an “art terrorist”? Does he think this helps his cause? No, I certainly doubt it. Does it make him more provocative? Sure. How will we see Banksy in 5, 10, 20 years? Will he be seen as an artist ahead of his times, such as a Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, or (the obvious parallel) a Jean-Michel Basquiat? Can he achieve this coveted status of famous (and famously misunderstood) artist without some sort of tragedy such as an untimely death, or repeated arrests for his illegal work? What if he just grows old, and his art and ideas go downhill until he dies of natural causes? My guess is he’d just be forgotten as yet another “spray-can prankster” who could never move beyond the shock-value tactics of youth. I’m really curious what direction he’ll go. He claims to be anti-corporate and has refused offers from Nike, but Banksy is already heading in the direction of other street-art icons, such as Shepard Fairey, selling books of his work (may be sold by an un-related third party, I’m not sure). Maybe a Banksy clothing line is next, without compromising his precious status as an “art-terrorist,” “hacking the art world,” of course.

6 thoughts on “Banksy Strikes the Holy Land

  1. alexs

    I don’t really get Bansky, he does cool things, but he’s too hip and trendy, and his works don’t have a lot of depth. Too many of his projects are in the end just clever and ironic, which isn’t enough.

    Another perspective: Warhol t-shirts are tacky. People who hang Sunflower reproductions in their cubicles are tacky. But a Bansky t-shirt would be cool until everyone had them and would end up being tired, just like Fairey’s stuff.

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  2. Matt

    If Banksys work had the same charactoristics as other artist like “depth”, he would not be Banksy he would be everyone else. Fairy has little or none of talent that Banksy has to compare them is heart breaking. Also if Obey has come as far as they have with there pathetic Andre the giant B.S. with the style knocked off from Warhol and his negative space, then a Banksy line of apparel would be a master piece! Thank God Nike was rejected!

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  3. Jodeth

    My boyfriend has been a big fan of Banksy, and to be honest I really do think his work is brilliant, in my eyes it’s unique but then again I don’t know many artists that are around at the moment, so that’s probably why. But also the reasons my boyfriend and I like him is because he tells the truth through his paintings.
    I’d like to go see some of his graffiti work someday, but at the moment I’m still trying to find a t-shirt with the riot lad throwing flowers, which are on ebay but they never seem to do them in XS =/ So, wish me luck.
    x

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  4. jon

    hey i personally love banksy. im givin him many many props for his spots and his crazy big and simple (SOMETIMES COMPLEX) pics that dont really say too much thats just it. its just crazy spots and huge pics for no seeming reason but we all got our reasons i guess his stuff is fresh and dope and hot/cold whatever. i love banksy

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