BANKSY DOES NEW YORK | REVIEW

BANKSY is a modern pseudonymous legend who is famous for stencil art containing political satire. No one knows who he is and his galleries are the streets, he never sells his art but auctioneers literally sell the walls his work is painted on with people left to sort out removal themselves. He has been known to paint his art on the doors of places in need of money and his legend is world known, and not all of it with love. I could go on and on and on about Banksy, but I was stuck at home still sick and the delightful Kernel Emma headed into this movie about the amazing artist.

BANKSY DOES NEW YORK releases this Thursday 23rd April, 2015 in Australia. It is rated M and runs for 79mins.

It is only playing at the following cinemas:

Enjoy Emma’s review folks……all the best……JK.

 

BANKSY DOES NEW YORK MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
BANKSY DOES NEW YORK | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE IMAGE | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY EMMA BISHOP

Banksy is back and better than ever in the latest documentary film from HBO – BANKSY DOES NEW YORK. Director Chris Moukarbel skilfully guides his audience through the thirty one days in New York where Banksy’s ‘better out than in’ street art exhibition took place. The documentary film is almost solely commentated by the eclectic residents of New York, each of whom sharing their personal response to the movement. Told in a well-paced chronological order, we follow the anonymous graffiti artist and clever political activist Banksy as he unveils an art piece a day through his Instagram account @BANKSYNY. In some of the artist’s most clever pieces to date, viewers are given an insight into art in the modern world, where audience participation is arguably just as important as the piece of art itself. We are forced to explore our active consumption of art, as Banksy literally invites audiences to step in and become part of the picture. With wide appeal, and just the right amount of political incorrectness this is a documentary not to be missed.

 

BANKSY DOES NEW YORK MOVIE IMAGE
BANKSY DOES NEW YORK | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE IMAGE | MOVIE IMAGE

 

On October 1st of 2013 Banksy took over New York, in a web inspired cat and mouse chase where his street art brought audience participation through social media to a whole new level. Over the course of the month, a new piece of art appeared each day and virtual clues were left as to its whereabouts in New York City. In BANKSY DOES NEW YORK’s opening scene, we observe crowds of locals as they photograph a group of men madly scaling an inner-city building in an attempt to steal BANKSY (the balloon letters that spell his name that is). Immediately we are given a sense of just how many people were following this movement and the brilliant chaos which ensued. It is fantastic to see the diverse city brought together; from a piece in the Bronx where locals begin charging $2, to a satirical art exhibition under a bridge where wine is served from a water cooler. Each of the thirty one pieces is vastly different in their nature, ranging from the politically and religiously motivated to those concerned with the effects of censorship and gentrification. Perhaps even more interesting than the art pieces themselves is the overwhelming audience interaction. Whether he or she was looking to provide a serious critique of our obsession with ownership, making art a commodity and ‘selling out’ or whether Banksy simply wanted to watch the madness play out – the result is seriously entertaining! New Yorkers are desperate to get themselves a Banksy and will steal, sell and claim ownership in order to succeed.

 

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BANKSY DOES NEW YORK | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE IMAGE | GRAFFITI ART

 

Each and every art piece unveiled over the thirty one days is equally ludicrous and intelligent and surprisingly still Banksy’s identity is never revealed. In the ‘Sirens of the Lambs’, an anonymous man drives a slaughterhouse truck filled with terrifying squealing plush sheep and cows to meatworks around the city. Banksy’s legitimacy not only as an artist but as a businessman is cemented when New Yorkers fail to learn the identity of the driver, due to a contractual agreement. Another of Banksy’s challenging art pieces is named ‘the banality of the banality of evil’. Here a rather boring image of a landscape is given the Banksy signature, when an image of a Nazi solider reflecting on a park bench is drawn into the painting. Named after Hana Ardent’s biography and challenging in nature, the proceeds of the art sale are given to charity and once again Banksy leaves us asking questions.

Not to be confused with EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, this documentary is driven purely by audience generated material with no direct involvement from the artist himself. Of the city’s fanatical fans, various art critics in New York also weigh in on the movement – there is no doubt everyone has an opinion on Banksy. (Watch out for one particularly high-brow male deliver his thoughts). Whatever this opinion may be, the range of subjects Mourkabel hand-picks work perfectly to the edgy and sarcastic tone of the film. Similarly the comments and photos extracted from social media are selected perfectly so as to enhance the comedic tone.

 

BANKSY DOES NEW YORK GRAFFITI IMAGE
BANKSY DOES NEW YORK | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE IMAGE | GRAFFITI IMAGE

 

Juxtaposed shots of graffiti art on a street wall, with the image painted over in a matter of hours remind us not everyone is in on the movement. When Banksy decides he will sell original signed works for $60 on a busy street, locals are fuelled by distrust and the stall owner is more excited by his kebab then the very few sales he makes. Of course this is made light of the following day when it is revealed those few who decided to make a purchase now own a real Banksy worth over $40,000. Another scene shows a rather pretentious art dealer collecting original Banksy’s in his gallery – noting confidently that he is doing Banksy a favour and the artist would be thankful. Funnily enough none of these pieces sell and audiences are far more attracted to exhibitions on the street in their natural habitat.

From the soundtrack, to the stylised editing, BANKSY DOES NEW YORK is interesting, educational and downright hilarious. Gone are the days of visiting art in a gallery and simply admiring from afar. ‘Better out than in’ challenges audiences to react, to take photos, to engage in discussion and ultimately to generate conversation in a particularly challenging way. BANKSY DOES NEW YORK is not without its flaws, but is certainly worth a watch, regardless of your stance on the artists’ works.

 

3 and a Half Pops