Banksy

Located just steps away from Israel’s controversial “Separation Wall,”  Banksy‘s Walled Off Hotel claims to offer the “worst view of any hotel in the world.”  That may well be, as the mammoth wall, even when covered with art, remains ugly and a sore reminder of the imbalance of power in the region.  But the hotel’s interior is a visual delight. Splendidly curated, it is also a fascinating foray into the roots of this 100-year, seemingly endless, conflict.

What follows  are several images captured from the hotel’s meticulously maintained lobby — or piano bar :

A variation of Banksy‘s iconic flower thrower

Banksy‘s take on the Biblical verse, “The lion shall lie down with the lamb”

A statue warding off tear gas

The following documentation of the struggle is among the exhibits on view off the lobby

And alongside the hotel, a friendly Wall-Mart, where graffiti supplies, stencils and a motley array of items can be purchased:

Curious as to what local residents think about it all, I spoke to 30-year old Naji, who grew up in a nearby refugee camp. He had the following to say: When Banksy first came here over ten years ago, I welcomed him  Some people here didn’t. They felt any attempt to “beautify” the wall trivializes its impact on our lives. Tourists come and go, but we have to look at it forever. But I, myself, feel grateful to Banksy, because he has brought attention to our cause. When people visit the wall to photograph it, they see how high it is, and they can get a sense of what our lives are like living under martial law. And my advice to the artists who come to paint here is: Get to know us first. You need to connect to us, as we feel disconnected from you. As far as The Walled Off Hotel, I’m of two minds. On one hand, it doesn’t represent my culture. But I like that it attracts visitors from all over the world and and that Banksy continues to employ many Palestinians.

The museum and art gallery are open to non-residents every day from 11am – 7:30pm.

Note: The second floor of The Walled Off Hotel is home to a gorgeous exhibit, curated by Dr.Housni Alkhateeb Shehada. of works in a range of media and styles fashioned by contemporary  Palestinian artists.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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On my recent trip to London, I came upon some outstanding murals by some of my favorite artists — including many who have shared their talents with us here in NYC. Pictured above is by the London-based pioneer of aerosol X-ray art Shok 1. What follows are a few more walls that particularly intrigued me:

Also by Shok 1

London-based Jim Vision, close-up from huge mural

Banksy’s “collaboration” with Basquiat — just outside the Barbican Centre, the site of Basquiat‘s solo exhibit, “Boom for Real”

Trafik Graphics

The classic London-based stencil artists, the Toasters, in Walthamstow

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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 faile-tower

While visiting Miami’s Design District yesterday, I had the opportunity to preview FAAM‘s sixth edition of its “Major Street Art Auction.”  Pictured above is one side of Faile‘s hugely impressive tower. Here are several more images of works that will remain on exhibit through Sunday, with a live auction tomorrow, Saturday evening, at 5PM.

Another view of Faile‘s Tower with Banksy’s Caveman on far right

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Federico Massa aka Iena Cruz, Glass Eye, Acrylic on canvas

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Tracy 168, Wild Style, Mixed-media on canvas

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Luis Berros, Khalo, Mixed media on wood panel

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Tats Cru and more, Mixed media with enamel paint on digital photo on five foam core panels

tats-cru-graffiti

Abstrk, Untitled, spray enamel on wood panel

abstrk-faam

Speedy Graphito, American Kings, Acrylic on canvas

speedy-graphito-FAAM

Flyer with info — featuring Banksy’s Caveman

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 Photos of artworks 1-7 by Lois Stavsky

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Penned by Ulrich Blanché, Banksy: Urban Art in a Material World focuses primarily on Banksy’s relationship with consumer culture.  With its thoroughly-researched appendix documenting everything from Banksy record album covers to his exhibition catalogs, it is the first comprehensive academic study of Banksy’s art.  An interview with the author follows:

Your book, Banksy: Urban Art in a Material World, began as a dissertational thesis.  Why did you choose to focus your studies on Banksy? What is it specifically about him that so intrigued you?

I was first introduced to street art and stencils in 2006 on a trip to Melbourne, Australia. And while visiting a museum bookshop there, I discovered Banksy’s book Wall and Piece. I was instantly fascinated and found myself going through it page by page. I liked the way each of his pieces has a distinct message or lesson that is transmitted in a humorous way.  I knew then that I would like to research and write about his work.

banksy-stencil-art

You draw parallels between Banksy and the contemporary British artist Damien Hirst. You discuss their collaborations, as well. Can you tell us something about that?  What are some of the essential similarities between the two? What did each have to gain by collaborating?

It might still shock some people that Hirst, the personification of capitalism, and Banksy, the art guerilla, collaborated. They knew each other since about 2000, and Hirst supported Banksy early on. It was kind of like Warhol and Basquiat.  The established artist gains coolness and the newer artist gains credibility.  The two artists admired each other’s works – and both Banksy and Hirst shared a morbid and humorous sensibility. 

Among Banksy’s subjects are both capitalism and religion – often merged in a particular image.  Do any particular images stand out to you? And why do they?

Banksy does not really focus on religion except in relation to consumption. Shopping/ Money is the god of today. No particular work stands out for me. Some are weaker; some are better.

banksy-in-nyc

To what do you attribute Banksy’s extraordinary commercial success?

I suspect that Banksy actually earns much less than people think he does. His income comes from the sale of prints, books, DVDs… The people who bought a Banksy for 50 quid 15 years ago or received a Banksy as a present have profited  tremendously.

As Banksy rails against consumerism, he — himself — is a master at manipulating consumers.  Why might we have become such a society of consumers? Any thoughts?

We are easily manipulated, even when we know we are being manipulated.

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How essential are the streets to Banksy’s success?

The street is his canvas – it is the means he uses to communicate. To remove the street from Banksy’s work is like removing a figure from a Rembrandt. If you manage to keep the context with photos, videos, background info, the work may survive indoors – once it’s no longer on the street. In Banksy’s words: “’I don’t know if street art ever really works indoors. If you domesticate an animal, it goes from being wild and free to sterile, fat and sleepy. So maybe the art should stay outside. Then again, some old people get a lot of comfort from having a pet around the house.”

Where is it all going? Will Banksy’s popularity and commercial success continue to rise? Will Banksy continue to use the streets as a canvas? Or will he become less dependent on them? What are your thoughts?

Street Art is over.  Most works on the street today are authorized murals or pieces in areas where the artist wants to be seen and photographed by the “right” people — whoever that might be.  Street art has become urban art for Instagram. Banksy will last. He will put a few works on the street every year and pull off a big event every few years. I hope he will publish another huge book of his works or lead a little revolution somewhere. That would be fun.

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Originally written in German and published by TectumBanksy: Urban Art in a Material World has been translated into English and is available here.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; images 2, 4 & 5 Creative Commons & 3 captured by Lenny Collado in NYC

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Brimming with stylish graffiti, witty stencil art and a wonderfully eclectic mix of murals, Bristol has it all!  Here is a small sampling of images that we captured earlier this month:

Bristol-based Sepr

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Bristol native Nick Walker

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Bristol’s legendary Banksy, “Well-Hung Lover”

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Bristol-based Philth and UK artist N4T4

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Bristol-based Jody Thomas

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Bristol-based Epok

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Bristol-based Soker

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 Photo credits: 1, 4-7 Tara Murray; 2 & 3 Lois Stavsky

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This is the sixth in a series of occasional posts featuring images of children that surface on NYC public spaces:

Jerkface in the East Village

Jerkface

Axel Void in East Harlem

"Axel Void"

Billy Mode and Chris Stain at the Bushwick Collective

"Billy Mode and Chris Stain"

Damien Mitchell at the Bushwick Collective

"Damien Mitchell"

Enzo and Nio in Williamsburg

Enzo and Nio in Williamsburg

Banksy on the Upper West Side

Banksy

Jef Aerosol at the Bushwick Collective

"Jef Aerosol"

Razo and Dead Rat on the Lower East Side

Razo

Photo 1, 3 – 6 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2, 7 & 8 by Lois Stavsky

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Banksy

The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University.

Last October, the British stencil artist Banksy paid an unexpected visit to New York City. And fervently chronicling the elusive artist’s daily workings — during his month-long residency —  was writer and photographer Ray Mock. The founder of Carnage NYC, Mock presents — in Banksy in New York — a comprehensive and insightful account of the month that captivated us street art aficionados, along with so many other New Yorkers.

Banksy-in-New-York

For each of Banksy’s pieces, Mock offers a short narrative, providing insights into the various sites and neighborhoods, as well as into the artworks and the reactions they elicited. Each account is complemented with a range of photographs — from selected close-ups to shots of strangers’ poses with the pieces.

Banksy

In addition to chronicling the pieces that surface throughout the month, Mock shares first-hand insider anecdotes.  We follow him on his adventurous rides to the designated locations and we meet some of the others out there  — who, too, are obsessed with locating and photographing every Banksy piece that appears. Mock also offers us intriguing background information. He recounts, for example, how a half-joke by a local resident to charge for photographs of the East New York beaver stencil resulted in a price tag of $20 for each photograph shot that day.

Banksy

As Banksy’s pieces — particularly those that are politically-motivated — are contingent on location, the local viewers’ reactions and interpretations are part of the process. Banksy’s piece, Ghetto 4 Life, in the Melrose section of the Bronx, for example, did not go over well with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, who had loved Banksy’s previous Ronald McDonald installation.

Banksy

Despite all the attention Banksy’s residency received in the media, Mock provides us with something that was lacking — an overarching personal account of Banksy’s legacy on this city’s urban and social landscape. We speculate, along with Mock, on Banksy’s possible intentions and we embrace the artist’s uncensored creative expression.

Banksy

In addition to the limited edition of the book — with a screen printed cover —  which can now be purchased via Ray’s site, a new hardcover edition will be available for pre-order on his site starting on November 3. It will also be in bookstores by Thanksgiving.

All photos by Ray Mock

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Featured in SCOPE New York 2014 are over 30 artists who are, also, active on our cities’ streets. Here’s a small sampling:

Judith Supine at Black Book Gallery

"Judith Supine"

Beau Stanton at Moniker Projects

"Beau Stanton"

My Dog Sighs at Vertical Gallery

"My Dog Sighs"

Stormie Mills at Vertical Gallery

"Stormie Mills"

Know Hope at Thinkspace Gallery

"Know Hope"

Peeta at C.A.V.E. Gallery

Peeta

Mark Jenkins at Fabien Castanier

"Mark Jenkins"

And Banksy at ArtNow NY

Banksy

Located at 312 West 33rd St between 8th & 9th Ave, the fair continues through tomorrow, Sunday, March 9.  General admission is $25.00; student admission is $15.00.

Photos of artworks by Dani Reyes Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

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This is the fourth in an occasional series featuring images of males who surface on NYC public spaces:

Banksy on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

Banksy

Peat Wollaeger at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

Peat Wollaeger

Icy and Sot in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Icy and Sot

Dr. Revolt in the East Village

Dr Revolt

Manny Vega in East Harlem

Manny Vega

 Owen Dippie in Bushwick

Owen Dippie

Photo of Banksy by Lenny Collado; of Peat Wollaeger and Manny Vega by Lois Stavsky; of Icy and Sot and Owen Dippie by Tara Murray; of Dr. Revolt by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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