05 July 2007

Meanwhile, across the pond...

Jonathan Jones, the Guardian's art critic, has a damning piece on British graffiti artist "Banksy," someone whose career I've followed for a few years, at first because I thought it was hilarious that he would sneak into major galleries and hang his own artwork there. More recently, I took a bit more interest in his exterior stencil work when the whole "Borf" phenomenon was happening around DC.

You remember Borf, don't you? He had a few mildly amusing stencils (more amusing for their location than anything else), but overall he was just scrawling his name on whatever surface he could find. Post-conviction, a group of people who badly need to have their own homes vandalized claimed that "Borf" was not an individual, but rather a collective or possibly a movement, and mounted an art show under the moniker of the "Borf Brigade."

Well, Borf is a pale imitation of Banksy. And when I say imitation, I should probably say that the only similarity is that they both employ stencils in their works.
Jones, apparently blind to the fact that most of the art world's history is full of mavericks who are rejected by the establishment (hello: Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain") believes that Banksy's work is nothing more than a visual gag, something that "If he had gone to college, he might be making good money in advertising by now." Meow.

Perhaps Jones is right. Perhaps Banksy is a passing fad, but I have deep doubts about the opinion of anyone who cites Cy Twombly in a positive manner.

Here's an example of Banksy's work:

For some reason Banksy's site is not loading properly, so I couldn't get a picture of some of his gallery hangings, but I'm putting my money on Banksy being more like the Dadaists, the Fauvists, and the Pop Artists than a passing fancy.


Reya Mellicker said...

I'm a big fan of Banksy. One of my favorite blog kin, Steve of Shadows and Light, features his NYC work often.

Develop deep doubts about me, Cuff (if you haven't already) because I am an enthusiastic fan of Cy Twombly. Oops!

Momentary Academic said...

I'm so uncool. I don't know anything about this art.