You KNOW graffiti is beyond overground when the WALL STREET JOURNAL is actually REPORTING on battles:
A GAME OF TAG BREAKS OUT BETWEEN LONDON'S GRAFFITI ELITE
Slight Brings Robbo Out of Retirement; Cobbler Won't Let Rival Tread on Him
By Gabrielle Steinhauser | Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2010
LONDON—In the predawn hours of Christmas morning, a 40-year-old shoe repairman who goes by the name Robbo squeezed his 6-foot-8-inch frame into a wet suit, tossed some spray cans into a plastic bag, and crossed Regent's Canal on a red-and-blue air mattress. Read More
BANKSY IN "THE WORLD’S FIRST STREET-ART DISASTER MOVIE"
By Elanor Mills | SUNDAY TIMES, February 28, 2010
He’s the most successful graffitist ever, the elusive outsider who has become our unlikeliest national treasure. Now we are about to glimpse him in ‘the world’s first street-art disaster movie’
Whether it is snogging policemen, a House of Commons full of chimpanzees, Princess Diana on a £10 note, or I Don’t Believe in Global Warming half-submerged in a canal, a Banksy makes you smile, but it also forces you to take a second look, to think a little deeper.
It’s funny how this anonymous graffiti artist evokes such strong affection in people, particularly those who don’t usually reckon that art has much to say to them.
“Banksy, love ’im,” says a mate who wouldn’t be seen dead at Tate Modern. Another friend, who met him at a crusty travellers’ party in Bristol, says: “He’s very quiet, sweet though, very Bristol, scruffy and funny, but you’d never know if you didn’t know, if you know what I mean.”
So why does everyone have a favourite Banksy? Perhaps because he catches us unawares, shows us a clever take on our culture from a topsy-turvy angle on a scruffy bit of wall, or bridge, or hoarding we’ve looked at a million times but never noticed before.
My commute takes me through Shoreditch and Hoxton in east London, and I’ve learnt where to look for them. Recently he has been painting in Camden Town, north London, where he has had a running spat with a fellow graffiti artist called Robbo. On a freezing day I went down to have a peek. Past the lock, along a grotty towpath in the snow, under a most insalubrious bridge, and there on a bit of concrete on the far side of the muddy canal is a stencil of a workman painting a wall. The workman was added by Banksy to the original Robbo tag. Since then, a vengeful Robbo has revisited the work to daub “King Robbo” in giant silver letters over it.
Back towards Regent’s Park there is a charming stencil of a little boy fishing in the canal, which now bears the aggressive slogan “Did you think it was over? Team Robbo”, and the words “street cred” where the fish should be, implying that Banksy has lost his. Click HERE to continue reading at the SUNDAY TIMES…
BANKSY's subterranean screenings of his new documentary, "Exit Through The Gift Shop" in a makeshift pop-up theater in an unused subway tube beneath London's Waterloo Station kicked off this week to queues of rabid fans. Miraculously, the UK bomber managed to keep news of the screenings and his dank setup totally secret until last week's surprise announcement when screenings (twice daily until March 4th) instantly sold out via online sales. The theater features copious amounts of street art inside and out and functions as much as an impromptu Banksy art show as a movie theater. Ironically—or perhaps, appropriately—enough, patrons were forbidden to bring any spray paint or other graffiti marking tools into the screening. Of course, Mr Banks was a no-show (or was he?), but his melted ice cream truck concession stand proved a hit across the board. Have a look at the setup: Read More
Leave it to BANKSY to roll out the premiere of his "EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP" documentary in an unused London subway tunnel beneath the Waterloo train station—AND manage to keep the whole thing secret till now. Billed as "London's newest, darkest, and dirtiest purpose-built cinema," the venue is adorned with new Banksy art installations and rows of couches and theater seats, and even features a "popcorn stall, lounge bar, and stunning temporary toilet facilities." Daily screenings will take place at 6PM & 9:30PM daily until March 4th. Book your tickets HERE now...
A derelict 200-year-old pub in Liverpool, England, bearing one of BANKSY's largest existing guerilla murals has just changed hands at auction today for £114,000. One of the artist's largest existing pieces, the massive rat was painted illegally under cover of darkness in 2004 during the city's Biennial festival and has since been declared a landmark by the city and granted protected status. Now, in a twist that Sir Banks himself probably couldn't imagine, the image must be preserved by the new owners going forward with renovations...
What has to be the final nail in the “Street Art” coffin was driven in last weekend by none other than MR. BRAINWASH (aka: “The Christian Audigier of Street Art”) when he opened his massive, self-produced “Icons” show in a rented space (which, ironically, was once a real art gallery, pre-recession) in the heart of Chelsea. As the subject of Brit Street Art king Banksy’s recent docu-parody film, “Exit Through The Gift Shop,” MBW has been the focus of much hype and speculation as his presence finally seeps into the fairly muddy stream of mainstream consciousness. Last week’s Wall Street Journal article articulated this particularly well:Read More
Unsurprisingly, our man BANKSY didn't show up:
"An apparent press conference by “Exit Through the Gift Shop” director, and mysterious street artist, Banksy was canceled in Berlin today. A subject of the film, which debuted last month at the Sundance Film Festival, Banksy remains an incognito artist. He issued a video statement that was shown prior to the press screening of his movie on Sunday at the Berlinale, in lieu of a press conference.
He started by saying, in a recorded message, “Unfortunately I can’t be with you today, so I am speaking from my home in England via satellite link.”
“I guess my ambition was to make a film that would do for graffiti art what ‘Karate Kid’ did for martial arts, a film that would get every school kid in the world picking up a spray can and having a go,” said a silhouetted figure, identified as Banksy, in a digitally altered voice on the short video message. He added, “As it turns out, I think we might have made a film that does for street art what ‘Jaws’ did for water sking.” Click HERE to continue reading at INDIE WIRE...
Banksy's "Are You Using That Chair," oil on canvas, from 2005. A steal at $1.5 mil, or just a painting deserving to be stolen?...
Despite the ripple effect of the economic crisis on the art world and the rapid deflation of the vastly overhyped “Street Art” scene in general, London-based ANDIPA GALLERY is currently staging a secondary market “flipper” show of work by BANKSY, the centerpiece of which carries a sticker price of nearly $1.5 million USD. No need to stop and re-read that sentence, you read it correctly the first time. Flying in the face of all rational thought, the gallery’s namesake dealer Acoris Andipa remains undaunted by modern reality and is determined to see “Are You Using That Chair,” a 14-foot-wide canvas dating from 2005 that depicts a drunken hooligan inserted into a copy of the famous Edward Hopper painting from 1942 titled “Nighthawks,” fetch a price that would have been expensive even in the overheated 2008 market. The piece is one of 35 high-priced originals currently on offer by the 400-year-old art institution (Andipa was established in 1593) and the first significant—if unsanctioned—show of Banksy’s work in 2009. Obviously hesitant of wading into the currently chilly waters of the modern art market, Banksy himself has been a ghost since late last year, keeping an incredibly low profile with only a few minor street pieces to his name so far. Despite the fact that values of Banksy originals have dropped a minimum of 30% – 50% since late last year, Andipa’s attitude on the artist’s bankability remains unshakably optimistic: “We’re still doing good business for originals,” he said recently. “We feel the long-term picture for Banksy is still rosy. He’s the artist who perfectly sums up the early 21st century. We aren’t dropping our prices” To date, the record price paid for a Banksy original remains the $1.9 million tag attached to the artist’s collaborative painting “Keep It Spotless,” executed with Damien Hirst for Project RED’s charity auction at Sotheby’s in NYC in early 2008. Until Obama pulls a magic rabbit out of his hat, we’re willing to bet that’s a record that holds true for quite some time to come. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
BAKSY's back in 2009 with a couple fresh hits in Fogtown. Unsurprisingly, his sense of humor remains undaunted by these dark days...