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Any feedback, no matter how rude or dismissive, would be appreciated. It'd only take five minutes to read
anything to avoid my own work!
"I shall not take The Smiths' name in vain"?
its about the cult following of leaders of extreme groups, and how they're all a big con who suck in weak, vulnerable people.
so not too dissimiliar from the smiths then....
oh my god, what have i done?!
Remember, it's a first draft! I still need to add some quotes of the people I've spoken to
"Money in the Banksy" (arf)
Art is a bitch. In 1897, Leo Tolstoy found himself distracted enough from philosophy and fiction to deliver an essay discussing the merits of what really constitutes art. Imaginatively titled What Is Art?, the paper argued that for true art to succeed it has a duty to “infect” its audience. To stir an emotion, to trigger a response - to leave an imprint on ones conscience, if you will. Going by Tolstoy’s essay, the stronger the infection, the better the art.
It would appear that towards the end of the 20th century we as a society had found ourselves in a position where these words were more prophetic than ever before. Tabloids and the public alike found much to scorn and ridicule in the thriving Brit Pack scene of the 1990s. It seemed that not a month could go past without there being a sliced cow, floating shark or unmade bed triggering a response on a scale never seen before outside of the previously unbothered art world. Britain had New Labour, Brit Pop and Damien Hirst at the forefront of a new cultural era. Conservatism, in all its forms, was well and truly dead.
So what happened? Everything seemed so bright, so exciting, and so new back then. But now? Pulp have disbanded and Oasis have grown up. Blur no longer write pop music. Tony Blair has dragged us kicking and screaming into a war that even he didn’t want, and our newspapers and socialite pages are lesser without the ubiquitous and inimitable presence of a drunken Tracy Emin, champagne in hand. The nation once again finds itself in a creative lull akin to the days of John Major, too wrapped up instead in an utterly vacant celebrity culture that plagues our eyes and ears at every turn. Modern day celebrities spend more time with their public relations team than they do in the limelight, prepped and polished to within an inch of their soul. There are no characters any more.
And even when there is a glimmering hope, a bright young spark in the mould of Emin, Hirst and co, it turns out we know sod all about them.
Recently at London auctioneers Bonhams, a canvas entitled Space Girl and Bird was purchased for £288,000. The final fee was in keeping with an 11% rise in the value of contemporary art over the past twelve months, and set a new personal record for the artist.
That artist is Bristol-based Banksy, who has slowly been developing a reputation for himself over the last few years as a self-described ‘guerrilla artist’. Nothing more is known about his identity (many speculate that his real name is in fact Robin Banks), and the artist goes to great lengths to ensure that this remains the case. A few short years ago, you would have had to have traipsed through a horde of selective art dealerships before stumbling across an unappreciated Banksy canvas, and it would have been yours for a couple of hundred quid. But this would not prove to be how he made his name.
Mirroring the almost DIY ethic of the much lauded Young British Artist set, Banksy originally set about creating works in mundane urban areas. More often than not produced with only the help of a can of spray paint, a stencil and a disregard for heights and private property, Banksy quickly developed a cult following across the UK thanks to his both humorous and controversial pieces.
In July 2006, Bristol council ruled that a Banksy piece in the city was to be allowed to stay on show for the public. The stencil shows a woman in her underwear standing behind a suited man leaning out of a window, looking for his wife’s naked lover who is hanging below. Due to overwhelming public demand, the local council decided to let the work stay, and have since declared that all Banksy pieces in the city should remain untouched. Their commitment to the protection of his work was displayed recently when an immediate investigation was ordered after council workers accidentally painted over a Banksy mural, said to be worth around £300,000.
Such staunch support of street art has never seen on this scale before in Britain, and examples of the Bristolian’s work can be found all over the UK, most notably in developed urban areas such as London.
Since then, fame and notoriety have become familiar to both the artist and his work. No longer content with scribbling anti-capitalist messages on advertising boarding’s or railway bridges, Banksy has now well and truly tapped into the national conscience, as well as making a few friends over in LA. He was even personally invited by Damon Albarn to design the album sleeve for Blur’s 2003 release Think Tank.
Following on from low-key smuggling of his work into galleries both in London and in New York, a steady stream of high profile publicity stunts have gathered widespread interest since the beginning of 2006. In September of last year, he launched a campaign to replace copies of Paris Hilton’s debut album with sabotaged versions, complete with imagery of Paris with her breasts exposed and new, remixed tracks, with titles such as ‘What Am I Famous For?’ and ‘What Have I Done?’. By simply walking in stores and switching the artwork and CDs with a limited run of 500, Banksy was sure to alert the press and before long hugely sought after copies were exchanging hands on eBay for hundreds of pounds.
But he was soon running the risk of rubbing shoulders with those he apparently had so much disdain for, when he launched a three day exhibition in Los Angeles aimed at highlighting global poverty and injustice. Attended by stars such as Cameron Diaz, Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt, it appeared that Banksy had got the Hollywood stamp of approval. But the exhibition drew criticism from some quarters for its use of a live 37-year-old Indian elephant, painted from head to toe and made to stand in a temporary living room whilst onlookers nodded with approval. The elephant in the room (both physical and metaphorical – geddit?) ensured that Banksy now enjoyed attention and notoriety on a global scale.
Where to go from here? You’ve got both the art world and the celebrity world shining your shoes for you, and you’re loyal cult following back home grows by the day. You’ve found yourself in a position where you can get away with almost whatever you want to do in the name of art, and you now have a platform to spread your message to more people than ever before.
Displaying an almost complete disregard for these factors, Banksy next decided to open up a temporary exhibition in London along with other contemporary artists, by the name of Santa’s Ghetto. Heavily publicised and open for only two weeks in the lead up to Christmas, prints and merchandise would be available for a limited period of time. To ensure that the exhibition did not go unnoticed, Banksy decided to court further controversy by decking the window with a piece depicting Michael Jackson as the Wicked Witch, luring two young children (Hansel and Gretel) with candy.
Which beggars the question, what exactly was Banksy trying to achieve here? Controversy as a consequence of something else is one thing, but controversy for controversies sake is quite another. Nobody in the world is unaware of the child-molesting allegations that have blighted Michael Jackson’s career, and most have long tired of remarks and jokes regarding the numerous scandals. It’s old news. It’s been done. And yet Jackson still remains one of the easiest and most immediate objects of ridicule. By using such a world famous figure and depicting him in such a familiar light (and, if ViewingGum could afford lawyers they would no doubt hasten to add that these allegations have been proven false) Banksy is starting to look like he has the taste for controversy.
So, is Banksy using his name to promote his art? Or is he now using his art to promote his name?
As Tolstoy said over one hundred years ago:
“Art, in our society, has been so perverted that not only has bad art come to be considered good, but even the very perception of what art really is has been lost.”
It cannot be denied that Banksy’s work, now more so than ever, triggers a response in its audience. But as he begins to comprehend and wrestle with the boundless parameters and status that his fame has allowed him, he must decide exactly what message he wants his work to portray, and exactly what responses he wants them to evoke.
But it was a bit mangled.
Can you portray a message? Not really.
Also, when you say 'they' that means it should be chaged to 'works' plural, if you mean the work.
Good point though.
I've just proof read it through for the first time, and there are a couple of bits that need ironing out. Also, I could probably do with a bit more justification of my criticisms towards the end of it
Thanks tho, beardy : )
I'm a Japanese space sylph.
can you bring this into it as well?
cos he's blatanly taking the piss out of the people that pay thousands of pounds for his work.
i liked though, a good read!
damn my dissertation work
I was thinking about incorporating accusations of corporate sponsorship in there too (Puma sponsored his Ghetto exhibition, apparently - that's thanks to a kind DiSer pointing that out earlier)
It's pretty standard practice really.
that prides his ethics, and indeed work, on being staunchly anti-capitalist
I'm suspicious of his anti-capitalism.
To be honest, I'm suspicious of pretty much all anti-capitalists. I mean, it's quite literally unworkable
and a bit preachy in conclusion but otherwise good
I mentioned in the other thread Yves Klein, this might be a relevant Klein quote
"The painter has only to create one masterpiece, himself, constantly."
If I can work that in somehow, consider your input USED
on his 30th birthday which fits with this subject, hang on a sec
"On April 28, 1958, the evening of his 30th birthday, Klein opened what came to be known as ''Le Vide'' (''The Void''), at the Iris Clert Gallery in Paris. A fancily engraved announcement card, in an envelope with Klein's signature blue stamp, had been distributed, alerting the public to ''the importance of this exhibition for the history of art.''
The show consisted of what looked like nothing. The gallery had been emptied, the bare walls painted white, the windows, blue. Klein, through a friend, managed to hire Republican Guards, otherwise preoccupied with protecting the president and cabinet ministers of France, to watch over the place. A mob arrived; the local police and firemen had to be called in to disperse crowds spilling onto the surrounding streets. Special blue cocktails were served: a mixture of gin, Cointreau and methylene blue prepared for Klein by La Coupole, the famous brasserie. As Klein intended, the cocktails caused the urine of drinkers to turn blue for about a week, roughly the planned run of the show.
Reactions sharply split. Some critics thought Klein went beyond the pale. Others thought he was clever. Both were right. The event was an explicit gag, but it had a point, which has become such a basic truism of Conceptual art that it may seem too banal to mention but that wasn't so obvious at the time: art need not be an object. It might be a fleeting experience, a state of mind, and moreover, an art gallery, even empty, is never a neutral space. As the American critic Brian O'Doherty once put it, it is ''the locus of power struggles conducted through farce, comedy, irony, transcendence, and of course, commerce.''
I said the show only looked as if it consisted of nothing because, of course, it consisted of the empty room, the guards, the invitations, the visitors, the blue windows, the firemen and the drinks, which were themselves a coy, albeit invasive, even aggressive conceit: impregnating guests with blue dye poked fun at the romantic notion of the modern artist desperate at all costs to get under people's skins.
Klein loved this blurring of the line between seriousness and prank, between what's authentic and what's fake or put on. The Republican Guards, in their pomposity, were also a double entendre: before they marched off in disgust, they parodied the gravity of precious art reverently sheltered in fancy galleries, and at the same time looked fake, even though they were real. Incredulous art students assumed they were actors and kept asking where their uniforms had been rented. "
That's bordering on brilliant
he also had two of his judo friends as bodyguards to guard the republican guards
I love Klein immensely - the ultimate prankster artist
it could be an interesting angle to take that his supposed anonymity goes in the face of Klein's comments
He's hardly Warhol in the 'creating himself' stakes.
are perhaps even stronger 'personal imprints' than a society face
i dunno, if it weren't so late I'd say something about the reductionism from applying one's monogram to works of high art to the graffiti artist's 'tag' as the monogram that substitutes or at least comes to symbolise the work itself
but it's pretty late
that there's an element of him actively creating this persona, albeit a non-physical one? By not being there he's telling us quite a bit about himself. I'd say people feel they know more about Banksy 'the man' (lol) than they do a lot of other artists
His beliefs, views, ethics etc have been quite clearly laid out through his work over the years
I wouldn't especially. Maybe in the later days he could have 'come out' but I don't know what his legal position is. I'm sure the police could find out who he was easily enough by tracing him through his gallery if they really wanted to.
the man's a self-important div.
Yeah I've got that. As is probably clear from that article (if you've read it), I used to be much more a fan of him than I am now. His aims and messages seem to be have somewhat skewed along the road to notoriety