Ron de Varona
Art is, in my opinion, for everyone to witness- even pieces that don’t tickle your peach. One type of art that is made for specifically the public is graffiti. If you are familiar with the art style, you should already know the name Banksy.
Banksy is an anonymous England-based political activist and artist. Although they do not use spray paint like most people assume when they hear the word graffiti, they are still revered as the most popular graffiti artist all while remaining nameless. Technically their work is illegal because it is “vandalism.” For some reason, making beautiful art on a boring bridge is as on par of illegality as drawing spray paint genitals and swastikas. That is besides the point, because I wanted to tell you about Banksy pulling the one of the greatest stunts in art history- making a point that could not have been made in any other way.
Banksy, in addition to their graffiti work, has also made art indoors, almost all of it being politically charged in some way. Banksy usually does not outrightly express their opinion to the media to remain anonymous, so most of their opinions are drawn from the quotes they put in their works.
One piece titled “Morons” is the rendition of an art auction, with the piece being sold stating “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit.” That very quote makes me believe their latest fiasco was intentional and contained a message.
“Girl with Balloon” was sold in London recently for just over one million Euros. Seconds after the hammer fell, the piece slid through a hidden shredder at the bottom of the frame, eviscerating half of the artwork.
With the “Morons” piece in mind, I think it is easy to imagine that Banksy was not a fan of their pieces being sold privately at exuberant costs, to then only be held by one owner. This limits how many people in the world can see the piece in person. Banksy’s most well-known pieces are their graffiti, which is public art where the masses can see and not pay a dime.
This means they don’t make their art for money or fame; they make it because they want to transform the mundane into beauty, and criticize the hypocrisy of our ways of life. Remaining unknown is a stance of its own. To be honest, if Banksy just announced their identity, they could sell their art for millions (even if they are prosecuted since their art in public spaces is still illegal). But they choose to remain hidden from the public eye, randomly making artwork across Bristol, their supposed birth town, where much of their artwork can still be seen.
Obviously, they decided to destroy the art during the auction so they could make a point of dissent with the sale in a very Banksy-esque way.