Good ol' Banksy has gone and done it again with his Dismaland extravaganza at Weston Above the Sea. Reminding the Great British Public that he is the Only Street Artist around. Except for all the others. Well, this is not a Banksy Forum and if you think that I'm gonna try and boost ratings by gratuitously writing a sentence mentioning Banksy, Dismaland, #streetart, #graffiti #visitmyblog you coudn't be more wrong. But nice to see the great Jimmy Cauty getting a showing at Dismaland.
I can't see a Banksy exhibition as anything other than a brand awareness exercise. The "art", however well executed, still boils down to a cartoon punchline and a product as recognisable as anything with the mouse ears stamped on it. It all goes down well with the Daily Mail crowd who can be either comfortably shocked or patronisingly embracing when they hear the word Banksy.
Graffiti needs to reclaim the edge. There's not enough vandalism going on.
On this page are works from people like Paul Don Smith and Anat Ronen. And a hundred and one nameless graffitists, slap taggers, paste up artists.
All this in a 100 yard stretch of Shoreditch. Opposite a building site. Which means that in a year (or a few months, they seem to be working pretty quick) it will all be gone, because no matter how much newcomers want to live in the quirky, arty, beatnik/hipster area that is Shoreditch they only want the Polite Street Art not the stuff put up by the druggy downtown kids (c. A Warhola).
Let me show you another picture. This one is from near the Sclater Street market, where some more building is going on to create luxury apartments or "brand new upscale living space". The advertising hoardings have "street art" printed on, not painted but printed. They're selling the idea of the street art capital at the same time as demolishing the buildings the art is on.
Back to the side street for more paste-ups, stencils, slaps and Posca work.
There is of course a contradiction here. I have art by street artists on my wall. I have bought from galleries and directly from the artists. Why shouldn't My Dog Sighs make a living from his art? Or Banksy for that matter. Why shouldn't they blur the lines between graffiti and street art; street art and public art; public art and advertising. Better that there be a really cool mural on a wall than an advert for Sony Experia. Except when Sony have paid for the mural and have their name on it. Another form of Brandalism.
I don't know. Let's just look at the pictures.