Thursday, September 21, 2006


See this great text by Valerie Palmer about a recent Banksy exhibition. The elephant was apparently a fitting centerpiece and stole the show from the political ideas we're used to seeing from the British sweet-painting rebel. Bottom line:
The power of his work lies in the way it interacts with its environment and that obviously gets lost when you put it in any kind of gallery setting.
I guess my wish came true.
Question: Is there any way for revolution to go mainstream?
My answer: No.
Question: What about Cattelan?
My answer: Come on, that's softball compared to Banksy. Cattelan's subversion is a Viennese Waltz compared to Banksy's creative punk attitude.
Question: So how can a guy like Banksy gain recognition?
My answer: He's got it already.
Question: More recognition?
My answer: What's the point? To "promote his values"? Let's face it: the value of critique is that it criticizes. Once it becomes part of the game, it smells of hypocrisy.
Question: What about subversion? Isn't that an option?
My answer: Possibly.
My answer after having though about it for a minute: But there's something cynical about it, isn't there? While in the case of Banksy, there hasn't been so far.
Question: Well, how is he supposed to make a decent living?
My answer: I don't know - find a sponsor? Hell, if I knew, I would be doing it already.
My alternative answer: Just as the jester's role used to be an intelligent critique, also of the ruler, and he made a living off it, so there might be room for an official jester... In the best of possible worlds, that is.


Alex said...

Hi like your blog. Have a look at mine

Shane said...

but then you're just part of the system and hence revolution is even less likely to happen -right? the system allows you to critique it and only through the system does your critique have any meaning.

(on second though, reading a lot of delillo at the time and have now started leaning towards conspiracy theories. madness iminent.)

Anonymous said...

Banksy does makes a great deal of money selling his work. I think Cattelan is light years ahead of Banksy. It's like comparing J.S. Bach with Chubby Checker.

vvoi said...

okay, anonymous. let's take it in steps.
1) how exactly does banksy make this "great deal of money"? selling which work?
2)cattelan light years ahead of banksy? if we're talking about the "art quality", i certainly agree. as for their approach to the art world, i find cattelan a (declared!) businessman whose main objective is to "have his art on the magazine covers" (sic!). the way he does it, though, is by provoking, provoking, provoking. and this provocation is often based on questioning the concepts of contemporary art (as in the biennale which was a holiday for friends-artists, or when dressing up his curator as a pink rabbit/penis). banksy started from a different position, a different universe. but several of his works/actions also take advantage of these concepts. of course, putting them next to each other in an exhibition might be a risky idea. but i haven't suggested that yet. on the other hand, cattelan is actually always playing it safe - he has to, if he is to remain on magazine covers. that's why cattelan, for me, is a softball player compared to banksy, who actually risked his butt many times.
3)"it's like comparing J.S. Bach with Chubby Checker". well, let's think on our musical metaphors here. a) if we are to remember that j.s.bach was considered an old, conservative wreck by his own children, and that they aspired to something fresher and more lively than a fugue, we could than see him as a human being and actually use him as an example. i'm afraid that is not the case here. instead, you are deifying bach, and, in extensis, cattelan. thus turning them into lifeless statues. which is the very process (of the arts scene) cattelan subverts...while counting on it all the same.
b) even with a "human" version of bach, i would opt for j.strauss. the waltz, as you surely know, was a subversive, controversial dance. at the same time, it remains 'classical music', and has always seeked to inscribe itself in the high society. is punk comparable to waltz? why not? what are we afraid of?
bottom line: cattelan surely has a better "artistic grounding" than banksy. does that make him less of a sell-out?

BoxEight said...

is Banksky worthy of a BoxEight show?
please check out
to see if he is.....

Anonymous said...

Banksy has the critical enquiry of pleb.

I walk pass his stuff most days (old st roundabout London) an no one with any sense takes his stuff seriously....

steve said...

Banksy is incomperable.

In my opinion, he is more of an artist than any successful painter making alotta money making nice shit- for rich folk to "invest" in.

Banksy should grab some money from those suckers.

...Remember "the Great
Rock n' Roll Swindle" !!!???

Mr.Kuminev said...

Hey Banksy is an excellent artist. Stay cul peace. I like your blog

dee the artist said...

great article! and banksy is by far one of my favorite artist. was the questions and answers real?


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