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Earlier this week, word began to circulate online that anonymous artist Banksy had painted his latest work on the side of a shop in East London. The mural depicts a young boy crouched at a sewing machine, creating a string of Union Jacks. It's a clear indictment of child labor practices. The mural was painted on the side of a Poundland shop, the British equivalent of the Dollar Tree, which has been investigated for possible child labor violations in the past. Though the chain denies any involvement with worker abuse or underage labor, the allegations were enough to launch investigations by watchdog groups.
But there's another layer to the story. The boy is making British flagswhich, as you'll see in the photo, are actual pieces of plastic bunting attached to the mural. Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, which marks her 60th anniversary on the throne, takes place in early June, and the country is wrapped up in festivities and in flags such as these. The Queen is touring the country, a concert full of A-listers is in the works, and department stores like Selfridge's and Harrod's have huge new windows dedicated to Jubilee-themed products. But Banksy clearly doesn't have royal favor, and this piece juxtaposes the fawning over royalty with the indignity of sweatshop labor.
Thanks to street art/movie producer/commercial success Banksy, admission to Art in the Streets, a new exhibition of graffiti and street art at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, will be free every Monday until the show ends.
The usually reclusive artist spoke out this weekend about why he was willing to sponsor Free Mondays. “I don’t think you should have to pay to look at graffiti. You should only pay if you want to get rid of it,” said Banksy. Clever!
Street Art Travel / Banksy / Sundance Film Festival / Sundance / Graffiti Travel / Film Festivals / → All Tags
The notorious British street artist Banksy premiered his first film, Exit Through The Gift Shop, at Sundance this week. But, true to form, he didn't allow it to be listed in the fest's catalog nor did he tell anyone about its place on the schedule until last week. This is no surprise coming from an artist who keeps his identity and whereabouts under tighter wraps than most people in the witness protection program.
The film is about street art, but it is also about Terry Guetta a.k.a Mr. Brain Wash, a successful commercial street artist. In the '90s Terry was obsessed with capturing his life on video. At the same time, he was hanging out with his cousin, the street artist Space Invader, who worked nights in France and Los Angeles covering the town with pixel aliens. Terry quickly became obsessed with street artists and, suddenly, his two passions combined. This meant for the first time someone was capturing the best graffiti artists in the world (including Banksy) working. The problem was, Terry's film sucked, even though he tried really hard, he just couldn't pull it off. This is where Banksy stepped in and decided to turn Terry's footage into Exit Through the Gift Shop.
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It didn't last long, but commuters in Raleigh, North Carolina were treated to a whimsical display of street art recently, as a 22-year-old NC State student (allegedly) assembled a barrel monster out of bright orange traffic barrels and put it to work directing traffic on a busy public street. Police say Joseph Carnevale is being charged with larceny for stealing and damaging the traffic barrels on May 31 for the purpose of building a statue, and I guess they're right, but it always seems unfair when it's vandalism you actually like.
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· 70 Cities Around the World: One time during our travels, we had the (mis)fortune of crossing paths with a World Naked Bike Ride. This Saturday, 70 cities in the northern hemisphere (the southern hemisphere does theirs in March) will host bicyclists in the buff to protest oil dependence. To join in or just station yourself along the route, check out the WNBR's Google map featuring all of the cities and links to their wiki pages for information.
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True to his reputation, super-secretive British street artist Banksy is keeping his new show, opening somewhere at sometime in Bristol this weekend, under wraps until the very last moment. That moment came and went this morning actually, and now we know that his "Banksy Versus Bristol Museum" exhibition is happening at the Bristol Museum starting tomorrow through August 31st.
As a homecoming for the street artist-turned-cultural icon, the show will be Banksy's largest yet in Britain with over 100 works and the animatronic pieces from his New York show last fall. And what's better than taking in a new museum ehxibition? Taking in a new museum exhibiton that's free!
Who really cares if legendary guerrilla street artist Banksy has been unmasked or not? Regardless of whether we know his identity, the guy's still turning out sage social commentary in the form of both graffiti and studio art at a blistering pace in venues around the world. His latest official foray into the quasi-gallery scene is in New York, where his Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill questions the modern world's relationship with animals and the morality of factory farming. The faux pet shop in the West Village is filled with animatronic installations designed to elicit double- and triple-takes from casual viewers. In one exhibit, a pair of chicken nuggets with legs dip themselves in sauce as a rooster looks on from a doghouse, just like in real life. Another shows fish sticks swimming in a fish bowl, in an amusing take on people's strange aversion to the fishy taste of seafood. Perhaps most powerful is a pearl-adorned rabbit beautifying herself with an assortment of cosmetics in front of a vanity mirror. It's true, rabbits love makeup. If you're in the city, drop by the shop at 89 Seventh Avenue South until October 31, 2008, or view a few good photos here and a nifty video here.
[Photo: Wooster Collective]
· The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill [Official Site]
· Banksy [Official Site]
· Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill Opens in New York City [Wooster Collective]
· In Pictures: Banksy's Pet Shop [BBC News]
· Banksy Coverage [Jaunted]
Whether we know who he is or not, Banksy is still out there making guerilla street art. And his latest paintings have shown up in New Orleans, on the eve the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall--and as Tropical Storm Gustav is taking aim at the gulf shore.
While some of the new stencils directly address The Storm, others make reference to an anti-graffiti crusader in town. Which is fitting, since at least one of Banksy's murals has already been painted over.
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Reporters at the UK newspaper Mail On Sunday announced this past weekend that they've found the true identity of the world's most prolific and no-doubt-wealthy guerrilla street artist, Banksy. Well known for celebrity fans like the newly twinned Brangelina, as well as inspiring political street art, Banksy's secret identity has been the cornerstone of his work worldwide, allowing him to create in public spaces without legal repercussions.
MOS identifies Banksy to be one Robin Gunningham, from Bristol, England. His family was one of modest means, but he attended the buttoned-up, $20,000 a year Bristol Cathedral School in his formative years.
What is certain is that Banksy's individual style is still one of the most widely recognized in the world. He has imposters by the dozens, but no one captures the political acuity that Banksy does. We hope whether or not this story is confirmed as true, it opens doors for street art to become more widely accepted by the authorities. And who knows, maybe it means more Banksy for the rest of us.