Sunday, October 20, 2013

If you can beat 'em, join 'em: Banksy's Street Residency in New York


Beware of the cheap wine - and don't forget to look at the art 
For those of you chasing around after Banksy's latest meticulously orchestrated stunt, his month long "New York street residency/scavenger hunt,"  the artist's Oct 18 edition is smack in the backyard of ChelseaGallerista, on W24th St at 10th Ave.  Typically, it pokes fun at someone, in this case the gallery scene itself.  Read/listen to Banksy's own cliff notes on W24th
You touch de art, I break your face - but perhaps you would like me to take a photo for you? 
Under the Highline, on a pebble-strewn private lot, are two paintings hanging in an impromptu "gallery space" that are apparently collaborations with Brazilian street art twins, Os Gemeos (you might have trouble reading Portuguese so just Google image them). Adorning an 80-foot wall of PS1 on 21st St  is one of the twins' signature pants-yanked-up-to-the-armpits big yellow men - itself a collaboration with another established street artist, Futura2000.

The audio narrative for this work on Banksy's site promises all the things you expect to find at a gallery opening - a bench to sit on and admire the work, a water cooler of cheap wine for ignoring the work, and paintings "so painterly you can actually see them."

Banksy apparently paid the phalanx of security guards to do their signature security guard thang, and in NYC that means being big, black and intimidating, in that order. However, he appears to have given one of them a witty script with which to address the crowds politely pushing against the yellow "CAUTION" tape - and who appeared to be the most handsome. It wouldn't surprise me if he was a paid waiter. I mean, actor.

You get five minutes then you're gonna move back behind the tape, OK?
"If you get split up from your friends and family, remember these are not the gates to heaven - you will see them again," boomed the Laurence Fishburne-act-alike.

A friend told me one of the security guards was being exuberantly and uncharacteristically obliging asking patrons if they wanted their picture taken in front of the paintings - again, you can only imagine this was meticulously scripted by Mr Laconic Ironic himself ...

There's an online ruckus about jealous street artists defacing Banksy's work even before the spray dries. As some people say, it's par for the course. The only reason why someone hasn't defaced the Mona Lisa is because it's protected by a 100 foot chasm right in front of it - last I saw it. I think Banksy probably expects and welcomes the interaction. Anything that creates a commotion spells commerce.

I'll have a video of the guard's witty script reading ready soon, so watch this space. Meanwhile, retrace my steps today here ...

The approach to the site includes a sure-to-vanish piece of yesteryear  - a 35-year old car wash 
The two paintings hung on the "gallery" walls of the highline
Note the water cooler of cheap wine. Apparently someone tasted it and it "wasn't good." 
Do you have repose? asks the wall.

That might have been the friendly picture-taking guard but he wasn't in character when I took the shot. 


The waiting throng. Apparently Banksy funded the bench, water cooler, gates, security guards and truckload of stones underfoot.
Everyone patiently waiting for their 5 minute brush with fame
Photos with oneself smiling on front of art are utterly lame so therefore must be executed.


The crowd swells - the show ends at midnight tonight. 
They needn't have worried - 5 minutes enables everyone to get close. 

The car wash to the left, an odd relic amongst the exploding starchitecture  and generification of West Chelsea. 

Ho hum.  

Street art abounds in this area, though much if it is somewhat polite and accessible, like this mural across the road. 
On the opposite corner is the Shvo/Kasmin GettyStation - a sheep station (get it?).  Don't try and steal the sheep, big security guards abound here too, and besides, they weigh a ton - and so do the bronze sheep. 

Another view of the Highline and starchitecture flanking the Banksy show.

"Well look at that, Merl ..." [Insert way better Gary Larson line here]
Just had to show you another shot of that REAL turf. Someone was seen mowing it the other day... 
35 years and counting

Another shot of that classic sign. No artsy irony here.  Strangely refreshing, isn't it? 
A nearby gallery naturally is on its toes ... 

Banksy - the man of the moment! 


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