Banksy’s Oct. 9 piece on Ludlow St., in a locked, fenced-in lot, had its doors stripped off within days after it appeared. PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
BY TEQUILA MINSKY | He’s making art in New York and has taken the city in a flurry of buzz. An alternate art reality to Christo’s Central Park “The Gates” installation that drew crowds, people are flocking to seek out Banksy’s street art, but the persistent question is: Where are they? Eventually, the word gets around — though, locating the work is like a scavenger hunt.
From Bristol, England, the elusive Banksy came here for his “Better Out Than In” exhibit, an art residency on the streets, featuring a new piece every day during the month of October. Documentation appears on his web site, www.Banksyny.com. The public doesn’t quite know what he looks like.
The street artist’s “Sirens of the Lambs” truck, with bleating sheep bound for the slaughterhouse, caused a commotion on Spring St.
His art can be spray-painted stenciled images on walls, installations in and on trucks, sculpture, a type of performance, and other forms of street expression. An audio guide / moviefone phone number with commentary augments or offers an “explanation” on each work.
His first piece, on Allen Street (east side, just north of Canal St.), was stenciled art with automotive paint and a “Graffiti is a Crime” street has been removed. Subsequently, a small, stenciled paint job and assorted tagging has been added. Pieces don’t last in their original state very long.
Writing on a wall on Thompson St., Appolo-5 had some words of advice for Banksy, who some accuse of ripping off New York graffiti artists’ style.
An elaborate wall and junked-car stenciled art piece of soldiers and horses went up on Oct. 9 in a gated and locked lot on Ludlow St., just south of Stanton St. A couple of days after its installation, one of the car’s rear doors was gone, and days later, a front door disappeared. The audio for the piece has actual Iraq war combat audio from 2007 and can be accessed by calling 800-656-4271 #5.
The “Sirens of the Lambs,” piece with all sorts of cuddly stuffed cows, piglets, pandas and Lambchops peering out through the slats of a slaughterhouse delivery truck, toured the Meatpacking District and is now driving citywide for two weeks. It was spotted at Thompson and Spring Sts. last Thurs., Oct. 17.
One of the biggest stirs caused by his work was his actual art stall on Fifth Ave. by Central Park selling “spray art,” signed originals priced at $60.
On Wed., Oct. 16, a fiberglass replica of a huge-footed Ronald McDonald appeared in the South Bronx, complete with a Banksy assistant polishing its shoes. During the following week, every lunchtime, the installation visited the sidewalk outside a different McDonald’s.
Banksy’s Allen St. piece has been drawing a crowd.
On Monday night, another graffiti artist, Flint, spray-painted “DREAMS MAY COME AND DREAMS MAY GO” on a whitewashed wall (over pasted advertising posters) on Thompson St. The following afternoon, graffiti artist Appolo-5 added his sentiments: “ ‘Banksy’ Learn Your Roots.”
Although he is a patron of the arts, who donates millions to the city’s artistic institutions, Mayor Bloomberg blasted Banksy’s graffiti. Graffiti “does ruin people’s property” and is a “sign of decay and lost control,” the mayor said during a press conference.
“I just think there are some places for art and some places where — no art,” Bloomberg said. “You running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted. And I think that’s exactly what the law says.”