Month-long residency ends with inflatable installation – which was promptly seized by the New York police department.
Banksy concluded his New York residency on Thursday with an inflatable installation and a call to save a famous graffiti space slated for destruction.
“This is a sideways take on the ubiquitous spray-painted bubble lettering that actually floats,” said the now familiar audio narrator who explains some of the works on Banksy’s website, where the artist been posting a piece each day of his month-long stay in New York. “It’s an homage of sorts to the most prevalent form of graffiti in the city that invented it for a modern era . Or it’s another Banksy piece that’s full of hot air.”
Within hours, the latest piece was in the back of a police van.
The inflatable lettering was located in Queens, off the Long Island Expressway, less than two miles from 5 Pointz graffiti space. The warehouse has been used for graffiti for more than two decades, but the property owners have plans to demolish it, prompting the artists to launch a lawsuit to save the space.
Banksy’s signoff included his first public statement about 5 Pointz: “Thanks for your patience. It’s been fun. Save 5 Pointz. Bye”
The audio narrator, sarcastically bemoaning the lack of press the piece received, said he asked Banksy if there was a cohesive narrative to the residency.
“Banksy asserts that outside is where art should live, amongst us and rather than street art being a fad, maybe its the last 1,000 years of art history are the blip, when art came inside in service of the church and institutions. But arts rightful place is on the cave walls of our communities where it can act as a public service, provoke debate, voice concerns, forge identities. The world we live in today is run, visually at least, by traffic signs, billboards and planning committees, is that it? Don’t we want to live in a world made by art, not just decorated by it?”
Meanwhile, a rare Banksy souvenir is up for auction online after he donated a painting to a New York thrift store. The artist bought the $50 painting of a pastoral scene at the Manhattan shop Housing Works, added a Nazi soldier to image, and returned it to the store on Tuesday, calling it The Banality of the Banality of Evil.
Housing Works put the work up for auction that same day, promising the proceeds would benefit the charity’s homelessness and Aids programs. Bidding has so far climbed to more than $310,000. The auction closes at 8pm ET.
In his 31 days in New York, Banksy has visited each of the city’s five boroughs. He has twice visited the subject of the World Trade Center, painting a silhouette of the buildings in lower Manhattan on 15 October, and posting what he said was a rejected op-ed to the New York Times on Sunday in which he called the design of the new 1 World Trade Center a ‘disaster’.
At least twice, fans were abuzz with speculation that the famously anonymous artist had been spotted. A New York DJ claimed to have seen the artist in Red Hook, working on a truck that was part of the Sirens of the Lambs installation.
And on Friday, as the artist and his crew set up a grim reaper-themed Halloween installation on Houston Street, a bystander took video of what he alleged was the artist himself. The photographer told the Daily Beast: “Banksy is allegedly the man entering with the orange backpack … he was giving everyone instructions, and then put on white coveralls and sprayed the walls”