It’s not news that the elusive street artist Banksy has been doing a month-long unofficial residency in the city of New York. You can see the work he’s claimed as his on his Instagram account.
Some of my favorite pieces so far have been the small stencil done in East New York that neighborhood residents immediately started charging $20 apiece to non-neighborhood folks driving up in cabs to see, and the $60 a pop art stall full of signed Banksy originals set up outside Central Park that garnered $420 in sales all day.
Today, Mayor Bloomberg, the guy who’s helped this city destroy landmarks and replace them with oh-so-many parking lots, 7-11s, and Starbucks, spoke out against one of the most exciting things that’s happened in New York in a long time.
“Graffiti does ruin people’s property and is a sign of decay and loss of control,” Bloomberg said. “Art is art, and nobody is a bigger supporter of the arts than I am, I just think there are some places for art, and some places for no (art).”
Apparently another place that’s not for art is the historic 5 Pointz building in Queens. Long the site of some of the city’s most beautiful graffiti art, not to mention a place that hosts artwork from all over the world, the 5 Pointz building is scheduled to come to to make way for yet another of the development projects Bloomberg so loves—two large apartment complexes.
It’s driving me a little crazy lately that there’s less and less place in a city I love very much for the arts. Music venues are being closed down left and right because they can’t afford to rent the spaces they’re in anymore. Artists can’t keep up with the skyrocketing rents, either, and are leaving town left and right for places like Austin and Portland. Some days it seems like the only people who will be left here soon are the very rich and those who have been smart enough to hang onto rent stabilized apartments for decades.
I’m really hoping that Banksy takes his spray cans to the front of Bloomberg’s mansion to show him where art does belong–here in a city that seems bent on pushing it out.