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Banksy's Back in New York -- Look Around

Ellen Levitt

Posted on March 18, 2018 20:08

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Art out in the open, where you least expect it.

Banksy's back in New York City, stealthily leaving his witty, politically and socially charged (and un-commissioned) outdoor art in a few places (so far) around the Five Boroughs. The anonymous British artist is apparently visiting the city, leaving a stenciled rat on a clock, and a mural about a jailed Turkish artist. Both these pieces appeared in the past few days in Manhattan locales.

And he had added to his portfolio with a painting on a wall in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. The larger artwork depicts a man trailing a group of people of various ages and a pet, and whipping them with a large economic forecast "bolt." The smaller painting shows a seal balancing a ball-- or the sun or a planet -- on its nose.

These both cropped up Friday on a wall and on a small building  that were recently part of a gas station, which had been abandoned. This is quite an unusual sight for the quiet, largely unfashionable Midwood section of lower-central Brooklyn.

Aet these two artworks definitely creations by Banksy, known worldwide for his graffiti-inspired, poster-like illustrations? They are certainly in the style and attitude of the legendary popular artist. When I stopped by on Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18, I noticed a few people who arrived with purpose to take photographs and gaze at the art. Others walked by or drive by, oblivious to the additions dropped down by the high-profile phenomenon.

Mysterious Banksy, have you thus tagged sleepy Midwood with your acerbic pieces? We New Yorkers were last graced with a series of your paintings back in autumn 2013, and I searched out several of them. Thousands of other New Yorkers and many tourists came to behold these, admiring their mix of humor, pathos and commentary.

They are entertaining on their own, but they are also sought out for their social media gold. People selfie with them, or document them in photographs, video and film. He continues to pursue his elusive, intriguing (and profitable) international career with millions of curious fans following from afar.

There are many other people who shrug off his antics, his artwork (or don't even deign to call it that), as well as his social-political viewpoints. Not everyone is a fan of the man. That is the way of art.

But I find this particular pop-up art installation especially fascinating because it is in my neighborhood... and because I posted the following message on Twitter, nearly five years ago: "Banksy come to Midwood-- there are lots of great places to do your stuff here. 20 Oct 2013"

And it seems that Banksy has answered my plea. I had forgotten the initial Tweet, but two people Retweeted it to me. Like a modern version of the old kids' game "Telephone," we have created a kind of back-and-forth that has resulted in wall art in an unlikely place.

Stranger things can happen. Look around you.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on March 18, 2018 20:08

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Source: CBS 8

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