Art History: Banksy


I have a strange conflict when it comes to graffiti artists. I love graffiti but it belongs on the streets. I find the commodification of it problematic. Anytime I see a graffiti artist with a gallery show or a piece up for auction I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. Banksy is an artist that I often waffle on. He definitely has talent but there is so much hype around him. It is kind of like those bumper stickers you will occasionally see on minivans, “I used to be cool.” Graffiti is about being an outsider, a criminal, and once you are excepted into the fold it looses something.

Twist (Barry McGee) has been accepted into the fold and I was always skeptical of him too. After reading an interview with him it turns out he struggled with the same issues. He said something along the lines of, for every gallery installation or piece he produces he feels like he has to spend twice that time out on the streets. There is something about that that speaks to me. With that in mind I present…