We never thought it would come to this, but it seems BARACK OBAMA's street team has confronted UK street art phenom BANKSY head-on in a battle for the streets of NEW ORLEANS where the Bristol Bad Boy recently made a well-publicized art run. You're up, Banks...
Widely considered to be the single most important art event of 2008, the first-ever NEW ORLEANS BIENNIAL, "Prospect.1" curated by art world heavy and former New Museum senior curator DAN CAMERON opened this Saturday in an effort to revitalize the area's art culture. Featuring a star-filled roster of 81 artists including heavyweights like CAI GUO QIANG, TONY FITZPATRICK, GAJIN FUJITA, ADAM CVIJANOVIC, YASUMASA MORIMURA, FRED TOMASELLI, ROBIN RHODE, PIERRE ET GILLES, SHIRIN NESHAT, MALICK SIDIBE, CAO FEI, and MONICA BONVICINI, and a projected 50,000 visitors from out of town the event is exactly the powerhouse art event the city needs at a point when the country has largely forgotten the legacy of Katrina and moved on. With satellite installations spread out across the city, often utilizing areas ravaged by Katrina including abandoned houses and now vacant lots the exhibition has brought the residents of the city together in an unprecedented show of cooperation as residents have volunteered by the hundreds to act as docents, provide exhibition sites, and assist the artists throughout the installation process. In order to understand the cultural impact Katrina has had on the New Orleans, almost every participating artist, visited the city to experience the devastation firsthand. In an interview with the NY TIMES, Cameron said he was "careful to select artists for the first Prospect who would attract critics and collectors but were not divas whose expectations might exceed the abilities of a first-time exhibition on a shoestring budget of $3.2 million." The result was a true show of artistic force by a dedicated roster of participants whose international origins reflect the inherent milieu of the town. Perhaps the most visually impactful work of the show comes from artist MARK BRADFORD, who built a three-story ark in an area of the Lower Ninth Ward that suffered some of the worst flooding following Katrina. As one observer noted when observing the work, "hope floats." HAVE A LOOK: Read More
As we've been reporting, BANKSY's pre-Hurricane Gustav art run through New Orleans' battered Lower Ninth Ward produced a flurry of new large-scale pieces throughout the neighborhood that started disappearing almost as soon as the hurricane passed. Now the remaining images that can't be cut down and trucked off are being covered up at rapid pace by locals who don't exactly fancy some rogue Englishman painting up the sides of their houses and stores, regardless of how abandoned they might be. The highlight of this week's cover-ups? The wall formerly home to Banksy's gas mask marching band being reclaimed by the local Gulf Coast Dragons Motorcycle Club, complete with a new handpainted sign where Banksy's stencils used to be. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
As we reported earlier, immediately following BANKSY's recent pre-Hurricane Ike art trip through NEW ORLEANS the newly-placed guerilla art installations stenciled onto the sides of vacant houses and abandoned buildings throughout the city's Katrina-ravaged Lower 9th Ward began to disappear. Some have fallen prey to obvious treasure hunters (hopefully New Orleans residents who can actually put the money from sold Banksys back into the neighborhood), and others, ironically, have been erased by the so-called "Gray Ghost," an anonymous New Orleans resident known for covering graffiti with gray paint that Banksy parodied in several of the recent installations. Regardless of who’s taken them, it’s only a matter of time till the doors and siding planks bearing the mark of the Bristol bad boy begin to make their way into the seemingly endless array of “street art” auctions of late. Following is a near-complete recap of the streetjacking to date. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Following BANKSY's recent art run through NEW ORLEANS and the city's subsequent drenching from Hurricane Gustav, observant residents have begun removing the English street artist's guerilla art gifts, including the stenciled rat from the side of this Katrina-ravaged home. Other pieces have been reported missing and we await photographic confirmation. Meanwhile, we're renting a sawsall and booking a flight to the South with an eye towards early retirement. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Yeah, it's been an unusually busy week in BANKSY news, but following his whirlwind art tour of the pre-hurricane NEW ORLEANS, we've gotten the first image of his recent artwork submerged in the post-storm floodwaters currently soaking the already-devastated Lower Ninth Ward. Stay tuned for more looks in the week to come. Meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK: Read More
One wouldn't normally expect to find the world's most Googled street artist lurking among the ruins of the lower ninth ward in NEW ORLEANS, but that's just where renegade stencil artist BANKSY has been holed up for the past week, covering the desiccated city with art to commemorate the anniversary of KATRINA, the hurricane that killed 1800 people when it struck the coastal city in 2005. Said Banksy of the operation, "Three years after Katrina I wanted to make a statement about the state of the clean-up operation,” and attested that the city's levee wall offered "the best painting surface in the state of Louisiana.” In the art world, timing is everything, and as the anonymous bomber wraps up his project, the city once again braces for the onslaught of an oncoming tropical storm. Hopefully, once residents realize what's been painted on their doorstop, a quick sawsall session and a little eBay savvy will net them enough to build a mansion in the French Quarter. HAVE A LOOK:Read More