Friday, August 29, 2008
I'm not much for modern art, even less for popular modern art. Yeah, I heard all the brouhaha over Murakami this time last year when Kanye and Marc Jacobs put him in the minds of the proletariat, and I've seen much of his work, but I never really got it. Maybe I'm not metropolitan enough, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. That's not to say he sucks, cuz the cover art for Graduation was definitely dope, as were a lot of his other work, but maybe the inner revolutionary begged for more than naked men ejaculating and Louis Vuitton luggage.
Banksy, on the other hand, is a friggin G tho. If you're about the "scene," then you should have at least heard of dood and no, I'm not providing a bio for those who haven't. That's what google and wikipedia are for. Anyways, I respect the fact that Banksy is an iconoclast in the purest sense. Not only is his work subversive, he himself is subversive, maintaining anonymity when he could easily reveal himself and be an artistic megastar. He's the MF Doom of the art world, except Banksy would never show up in public, masked or not. Still, his work is far from anonymous and is irreverent and conscious in a way that makes you uncomfortable--and not in that Japanese porn-as-art kinda way--but in a way that forces you to confront the hypocrisy of the (post-)modern world. The cynicism draws upon what we've come to regard as familiar and then asks us why have we allowed ourselves to grow so numb as to call these things familiar. War, poverty, mass media, broken governments, big brother, capitalism, celebrity worship, obsessive consumerism... are you okay living like this?
That said, Banksy recently left his home in the UK to travel to New Orleans. But before he left America's modern-day Pompeii he left his own mark in signature fashion. Enjoy:
The first one with the girl and the umbrella is my favorite. He provides commentary on some of these on his website (along with a catalog of his work). And because a few of our readers are artists, (and since I'm a fan of Mad Men), I'll let Banksy get the last word: