Wall and Piece by Banksy

Wall and Piece

Banksy, Britain's now-legendary "guerilla" street artist, has painted the walls, streets, and bridges of towns and cities throughout the world. Not only did he smuggle his pieces into four of New York City's major art museums, he's also "hung" his work at London's Tate Gallery and adorned Israel's West Bank barrier with satirical images. Banksy's identity remains unknown,...

Title:Wall and Piece
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Wall and Piece Reviews

  • Manny

    Everyone in Britain knows Banksy, but I'm often surprised to find that my US friends haven't heard of him. He's one of the funniest artists around, and has taken graffiti to a completely new level. The paintings and installations just turn up, in the most unlikely places. Here's one of my favorites, which was discovered one morning on the wall of a family planning clinic in Bristol. (Note the thematically appropriate content). The local authorities were going to remove it, but the doctors asked

    Everyone in Britain knows Banksy, but I'm often surprised to find that my US friends haven't heard of him. He's one of the funniest artists around, and has taken graffiti to a completely new level. The paintings and installations just turn up, in the most unlikely places. Here's one of my favorites, which was discovered one morning on the wall of a family planning clinic in Bristol. (Note the thematically appropriate content). The local authorities were going to remove it, but the doctors asked if they were crazy. Erase an original Banksy?

    He's incredibly good at outwitting security. One of his greatest coups was the following exhibit, which turned up in the British Museum. They also decided to keep it!

    This book collects together most of his work, and is wonderfully amusing to leaf through. The thing I like most about him is his complete refusal to take himself seriously: what a contrast with Damien Hirst and the other pretentious idiots currently getting absurd sums for stuff that isn't any better than the pieces Banksy does for free. And although his main purpose is to entertain, he does have a serious side too. I'll give the last word to the man himself.

  • notgettingenough

    Added later: I found it quite moving, his description of being drawn to graffiti the outside of the walls imprisoning the Palestinians and being told off in no uncertain terms by the inhabitants. To beautify the walls is to insult them. Of course. Obvious when you think of it.

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    I'm loving this, of course. And it's not that I disagree, exactly, with his messages, but a dominant one is this idea that

    Added later: I found it quite moving, his description of being drawn to graffiti the outside of the walls imprisoning the Palestinians and being told off in no uncertain terms by the inhabitants. To beautify the walls is to insult them. Of course. Obvious when you think of it.

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    I'm loving this, of course. And it's not that I disagree, exactly, with his messages, but a dominant one is this idea that

    Well, okay, but. There is lots of really clever, funny, aesthetically pleasing advertising out there and lots of crap graffiti.

    I like the following pictures, taken recently near where I live. I don't find the advertising displeasing juxtaposed with the graffiti. In fact, I don't understand why I'm supposed to find the graffiti pleasing either absolutely or relatively. Banksy's stuff is pictures which either contain words or read like words. I don't see why it is comparable to the first three of these pictures and nor do I see why these three are supposed to represent something more acceptable than the last.

    I think blank space is as important as silence. I don't understand why we have a desperate need to fill them up.

    Later: and I'm not very happy about this either:

    Sorry, Banksy, but this is bull. There is a literary canon. There is a notion of 'classical music', both of which are exclusive in exactly the same way you complain about Art.

    Just as there is popular music and popular writing, both looked down upon by their respective canons, so too in Art. There is a vast amount of popular art, including graffiti, including cartoons, including street art. People do that, they buy pictures being sold on the side of the road and they love them. They think they have purchased art. The mere fact that the governors of the Tate do not think so is neither here nor there.

  • Maggie Stiefvater

    Like many people, I just find the story of Banksy -- a sort of artist Robin Hood -- incredibly compelling. In my head this most elusive of graffiti artists looks like Sean Bean and drives a Lotus Elan or something like that. This book spares the words and lavishes the photographs, letting Banksy's political statements, hastily and secretly sprayed onto walls, speak for themselves. If Banksy was just an anarchist, rustling with discontent, this book, and his art, would be unimpressive. But Banksy

    Like many people, I just find the story of Banksy -- a sort of artist Robin Hood -- incredibly compelling. In my head this most elusive of graffiti artists looks like Sean Bean and drives a Lotus Elan or something like that. This book spares the words and lavishes the photographs, letting Banksy's political statements, hastily and secretly sprayed onto walls, speak for themselves. If Banksy was just an anarchist, rustling with discontent, this book, and his art, would be unimpressive. But Banksy's art speaks with an edgy, wry, stylish accent. His spray-painted creations are no defacement. Instead, they're the graphic, unheard voices of those shouting "something is wrong here!"

  • Mon

    Disclaimer: Haters are not cool. I'm not 'hating' Banksy because it's the hipster thing to do (go grab an art school undergrad, you'll see what I mean). One problem with reviewing solo-artist art book is that you can't avoid talking about the actual artist, so here it is. I can't even be bothered to write about graphics. I mean, surely you're only considering buying this book because of the guy not the pretty layout right?

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    Disclaimer: Haters are not cool. I'm not 'hating' Banksy because it's the hipster thing to do (go grab an art school undergrad, you'll see what I mean). One problem with reviewing solo-artist art book is that you can't avoid talking about the actual artist, so here it is. I can't even be bothered to write about graphics. I mean, surely you're only considering buying this book because of the guy not the pretty layout right?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Why do people like Banksy?

    It seems like people either hate him or love him, and not the traditional oh-he's-so-controversial-edgy-can't-possibly-be-in-between kind. 'Serious' practicing artists loathe this guy because 1) he's an auction babe and 2) non-'serious' artists love him. His fellow graffiti artists have similarly divided opinion about him, ranging from the Robbo Vs. Banksy hatred to admiring him as the God of stencil art. A couple years ago when he first started doing those gallery stunts where he sneaked his own work in major museums (Brooklyn, MoMA etc) in that masked Sherlock Holmes outfit, I thought 'why, this guy is not a popular artist, what he's doing is clearly conceptual and bravo to someone who is expanding the boundary of performance art!'. Over the years as he got more public attention, Banksy became more reserved and civilised in the media. There is a trend in the rising street artists where the stereotypical persona of the rough, I'm-from-the-hood attitude is discarded for a safe, white bourgeoisie irony of look-I'm-fiddling-with-something-cool-and-dangerous-but-remember-drugs-and-alcohol-are-bad-for-you-kids! Remember

    ? Remember how bad-ass things were actually bad-ass, but now the symbol of rebellious angsty anti-authority icons are either Gossip Girls or Jersey Shore? (excluding ironic Che references)

    What Banksy does is arguably beneficial to the art community, in a way that he exposes the traditional obscure and anonymous operation of street artists to a wider audience. But he IS Edgy, Dangerous and c00l, you might say, look at what he did in Palenstine! Paris Hilton CDs! See, Banksy works best with a contextual focus rather than technical originality. In terms of fame and money, yes he makes a lot of those but he is by no means the first one (haters, please remember Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons are still out there). Andre, Basquiat and a bunch of other artists have benefited from the popularity of street art by boxing it into Sotheby's home. If you want to be more extreme, you can even argue Banksy isn't an artist at all. What he does is make statements and provoke his audience through civic sentiments. He is not consciously creating art. Even traditional graffiti tags have a narcissistic quality that is unique to art.

    Similar to

    , Banksy is another subject I avoid talking about. Yes, he's a serious artist and interesting phenomenon but many of his fans are obnoxious in labeling him as an academic artists because of this political nature and somewhat 'unconventional' genre. Banksy never publicly denounced other 'sell out' street or shock artists and I respect his unpretentiousness. Of course, people say 'well, I don't care if you're only into those 'serious' minimalists, abstract-nobody-except-your-art-professor-understands or installation art, Banksy is too cool for "definition"'. However, you can't discuss the artistic merit of Banksy without including him in the circle, an exact contradiction to his principle. Well, now that he's widely accepted in the art crowd (I'm sure he doesn't have a problem with it, considering his generous rise in pay check) only complicates the matter. Is he still a serious 'street' artist? Sure he works with the same medium and similar themes, but his works are getting safer and more political for politic's sake. It is a shame considering the artistic merit of his works (although that is also debatable, some graffiti artists consider stencil art contrived. Personally I believe efficiency is important due to street art's, well, illicit nature of production)

    It is perhaps unfair to hate on Banksy for all the above reasons. After all, can you name one popular artist who hasn't been called a phony in recent years? The point I'm trying to make is that if you're serious about art, or street art for that matter, Banksy is merely credible and nothing unusual beyond that. Banksy is not 1) breaking new grounds, or rather, not that 'new' in the course of art history 2) technically/structurally innovative 3) authentic just because he works on the street and break laws and shit. I'm not saying he's not a good artist (if such thing exists), but I'm just going to avoid the next person that calls him the greatest 'artist' in the century, not that Banksy himself, I imagine, would care about this anyway, so why should you?

  • Kirsti

    In 2003, Banksy donated one of his artworks to the Tate Gallery in London. The thing is, the Tate Gallery hadn't actually asked for anything of his. He just walked in (or had a friend walk in, or had a member of the collective walk in--Banksy's true identity is uncertain) and stuck it to the wall. This is just the kind of appalling disrespect that I think the world needs more of.

    Over the next couple of years, he made similar donations to the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, th

    In 2003, Banksy donated one of his artworks to the Tate Gallery in London. The thing is, the Tate Gallery hadn't actually asked for anything of his. He just walked in (or had a friend walk in, or had a member of the collective walk in--Banksy's true identity is uncertain) and stuck it to the wall. This is just the kind of appalling disrespect that I think the world needs more of.

    Over the next couple of years, he made similar donations to the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, the Natural History Museum in New York and the one in London, and the British Museum. At least two of the museums have added these donations to their permanent collections.

    It takes a special kind of mind to tag Trafalgar Square with an enormous sign reading DESIGNATED RIOT AREA. Also to sneak into the penguin enclosure at a zoo and leave the message "We're bored of fish." And the Lady Di ten-pound "Banksy of England" notes are incredible . . . too bad he would face 12 years in prison if he actually distributed them.

    It's a shame that Batman and Wonder Woman aren't real, but at least we have Banksy.

  • Trevor

    I loved this. Particularly this

  • Jonathan Ashleigh

    “Imagine a city where graffiti wasn't illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall - it's wet.”

  • Amir

    شاید خود بنکسی بهتر از همه گفته باشه: یه عده میخوان پلیس بشن که دنیا رو بهتر کنن؛ یه عده هم میخوان وندال باشن که ظاهر دنیا رو بهتر کنن.

    گرفیتیهای بنکسی پر از ایدههای دوستداشتنی و انسانیه. مخصوصا مجموعهی فلسطینش و همینطور مجموعهی میمون و موزها. بد نیست نگاهی بندازید بهش

    شاید خود بنکسی بهتر از همه گفته باشه: یه عده می‌خوان پلیس بشن که دنیا رو بهتر کنن؛ یه عده هم می‌خوان وندال باشن که ظاهر دنیا رو بهتر کنن.

    گرفیتی‌های بنکسی پر از ایده‌های دوست‌داشتنی و انسانیه. مخصوصا مجموعه‌ی فلسطینش و همین‌طور مجموعه‌ی میمون و موزها. بد نیست نگاهی بندازید بهش

  • Nat

    After seeing

    on Tumblr, I simply had to add this book to my TBR.

    I was looking for something to lift my spirits a bit, and thank the stars for sending this piece of art in my direction.

    is guaranteed to brighten even your bleakest day.

    Banksy, Britain's now-legendary "guerilla" street artist, has painted the walls, streets, and bridges of towns and cities throughout the world.

    sets the mood wi

    After seeing

    on Tumblr, I simply had to add this book to my TBR.

    I was looking for something to lift my spirits a bit, and thank the stars for sending this piece of art in my direction.

    is guaranteed to brighten even your bleakest day.

    Banksy, Britain's now-legendary "guerilla" street artist, has painted the walls, streets, and bridges of towns and cities throughout the world.

    sets the mood with a phenomenal introduction that not only made me open up my eyes to a new world but also seriously educated me.

    Not only is Bansky an incredible artist but his way with words lanced my heart. And thankfully that wasn't the only written part because we then smoothly move onto the works of Banksy, where he occasionally attaches a piece text to describe the art.

    Here are a few of my favorites:

    And lastly, I was greatly surprised when it mentioned a short story that was also featured in

    :

    Overall, I was incredibly amazed with Wall and Piece, especially getting to know that some of the works took only minutes to get done.

    !!

    ,

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    Thought provoking and powerful - a tour de force of the absurdity that has become institutionalized in our modern world.


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