What We're Watching When We Watch People Watch Banksy

Friday, October 25, 2013

British street artist Banksy is in town. Jerry Saltz, senior art critic at New York Magazine, discusses Banksy's art and the crowds flocking to view the daily installations around the city.

Jerry Saltz's "Impromptu Banksy Art Class"


Jerry Saltz

Comments [15]

Paul S O'Connor from Brooklyn

I think that the guest's analysis of Banksy's work is far too formalist, and he really misses the greater point of the work (especially the stencil work), which comes through more when you think about the specific context of each image.

The important part of the piece is not the execution of the image, but the LOCATION of the image.

Banksy has specifically put this image in CHELSEA! It's no coincidence that he chose to have the dog peeing on one of the global centers of the commercial art world. Whether Banksy is stating that underground art (like street art) informs, inspires and is later capitalized apon by blue chip art galleries, or whether it's just a open show of contempt towards the art machine, it is the location of the graffiti, not the sophistication of it's execution that imbues the image with significance.

I wanted to include sooo much more in this comment, but since space is tight visit
if you're interested in a more comprehensive commentary.

Oct. 25 2013 11:26 PM
HipHopSays from Bed-Stuy

@ truth and beauty: there is a 'space' for graf artists to do burners (large scale pieces), it's known as 5 points in long island city. you may have seen part of it while on the 7 (during the exit from underground to above ground) or in passing to PS1 in LIC. this space has been apart of the graf scene since the 80s but as with all things NYC these days real estate consumes all. the building is slated to be sold for condo loft space, and arguably the rationale is the 'desirability' of the art institutions such as PS1 that signals the potential to get individuals/couples who are willing to pay the 'premium' pricing. I do agree @bobbyG's hysteria is unwarranted and nonsensical.

Oct. 25 2013 11:18 AM
pliny from soho

and a man offering a bouquet of flowers to a woman
outside a club where men pay for lap dances
-its not just publicity seeking

Oct. 25 2013 11:00 AM
Robert from NYC

This segment was another waste of donor's dough! A lot of waste on this station over the past few years. Fortunately none of it was mine.

Oct. 25 2013 10:57 AM
pliny from soho

just a glimpse of the foto of the abattoir truck
was a more potent statement against animal cruelty
then all the pious editorials written on the topic
of maltreatment of food animals

Oct. 25 2013 10:44 AM
HipHopSays from Bed-Stuy

not a big bansky fan but i am intrigued in his neighborhood selection...i've been following the after in which other artists have 'tagged' over his work. the audio tours of each piece are interesting and while i was not sure if he truly resided in the space of a graffiti artist, the show has changed my mind on it. i do appreciate it opens up a convo for those who feel underrepresented in a MoMa or anywhere on museum mile, and keeps to the aesthetics of the graf scene - the art speaks for you not you infront of a piece explaining it, it should create a visceral response, and should be done with the recognition that it is fleeting (ie: someone will tag over it, the institution of the city will remove it, the populist will move on to something else, et al).

Oct. 25 2013 10:42 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

"A Banksy." Seriously?
And what kind of moron travels the world to "stumble upon" this coward Banksy's "street art?" The mind boggles.

Oct. 25 2013 10:41 AM

Oh Marco, please stop rooting for failure. NYC has enough of that.

Oct. 25 2013 10:40 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

A "genius"? And I thought the word "artist" is grossly overused (and abused.)

Oct. 25 2013 10:40 AM
mary from NYC

Great quote Jerry:CHAOS CREATES NEW ORDER. I think you should do one of those every week deals w Jerry. I could listen to him all day!

Oct. 25 2013 10:39 AM

Key word that I haven't heard yet is: Novelty.

And ya gotta love the P.T. Barnum aspect of Banksy, too.

But if you take it too seriously, you might be missing the point.

People love to share... communicate... when there's a shared experience. That's why TV works better than Theater -- you must have enough people who have contact with a work to make the discussing of it worthwhile.

Oct. 25 2013 10:39 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

More fetish and trend/celebrity fetishizing in our society, and WNYC has become an enabler of such, instead of the classic and enduring.

Oct. 25 2013 10:38 AM
Marco from Manhattan

First the resurgence of graffiti...then squeegee men...get ready New York, back to the Dark Ages.

Oct. 25 2013 10:38 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Bobby G from East Village: That's the equivalent of "weeds are the plants you don't want in your garden."

Art is art and you know it when you see it. If you don't, don't spend your time worrying about it.

I have seen artistic graffiti, but, for the most part, it's mostly just vandalism. On the other hand, you never know whether your next graffiti artist is going to turn out to be the next Warhol. How about if we leave some blank billboards around for graffiti artists so buildings aren't defaced, and if the graffiti really turns out to be art, it can then be archived?

Oct. 25 2013 10:37 AM
Bobby G from East Village

I recall a graffiti in old Soho that read "Art's What Sells." How true is that, Jerry?

Oct. 25 2013 10:19 AM

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