Banksy Does New York
Incredulous as it seemed to me as a big fan of the mystery man, not only are there people who don’t like Banksy, there are folk who have never heard of him.
As well as being the world’s foremost graffiti artist he’s also a political activist, film director, and painter.
He’s also wickedly funny.
And to be fair to those who don’t know his name – he’s also succeeded in remaining anonymous for the entirety of his quarter century or so “career”.
With Banksy’s output often derided as vandalism rather than art, his plan to embark on an artist residency in NYC through the month of October 2013 was always going to be ambitious.
“Better Out Than In” saw Banksy take to the streets, exhibiting one unique work each day of the month.
This HBO documentary film is not created or produced by Banksy, rather it is a reflection what New Yorkers experienced that month, with their response becoming part of the work itself.
Opening with a mix of news footage and candid video shot by numerous bystanders, helium balloons spelling out his pseudonym on a an elevated platform overlooking a busy road are in the process of being “stolen” by “Banksy-Hunters”.
Just as the plunderers are about to make a clean getaway, somebody yells “THIEF!” and attending police pounce on the men trying to abduct the ballons.
The sight of police trying to cram this large inflatable “artwork” into the back of a paddy van is worth the price of admission alone.
With stencil art, waterfall dioramas, a truck filled with puppet animals, a grim reaper in a dodgem car and a myriad of other creative inventions, New Yorkers are never quite sure what that days’ output will entail.
Nor do they have any idea where it will appear.
A lawbreaking work of stimulating genius.