Friday, August 29, 2008

Dirty Pop

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:

1 comment:

Jeffrey Taylor, Jr. said...

If youve never heard of Banksy it means 1.) youve never been in an Urban Outfitters or 2.) you never stop at the book table when youre at urban outfitters...which is just sad either way. But I totally agree with what he says. He and Sheppard Fairey are in another world with this modern art affecting the world deal. Murikami is tight to me because of his use of color, but I've never seen a piece that has given me goosebumps; never seen piece from him that made me feel like i could sit down and he'd understand me (beyond the fact that he speaks Japanese). But Banksy and Shepard...they get it. They know it's a fucked up world out there, and they wont let those that are the cause forget that they are the cause. Shepard blew up alot with the Obama joint and with the Obey clothing line, but his roots are still planted in the same foundation as 20 years ago when she started plastering those Andre the Giant posters all over the world. And artist is truly great when he shows you a level that you dont think you have in yourself as an artist, yet with the same brush stroke inspires you to convey a message of your own. Banksy and Shepard as the men.

I hope history remembers them the way they should...not as vandals, but as masters.