Tara's Reviews > Wall and Piece

Wall and Piece by Banksy
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Dec 23, 11

Read from December 01 to 22, 2011

This book is funny, provocative and at times, borders on anarchy. As Banksy himself states, you will love him, hate him or you won't really care. So, how you feel about this book will be very personal. Does it speak to you, or not?

It did speak to me. I don't hold Banksy on a pedestal as some do, but I appreciate what he is creating. Art that challenges us. "What we need in this race is a lot more streakers." Or maybe just more provocative graffiti writers.

Banksy is clever (probably too clever for his own good.) He is an artist in every sense of the word, creating pieces but also thinking and stretching boundaries. I particularly like that he doesn't take himself too seriously, readily admitting that the depth someone else saw in his work wasn't actually what he intended or that a group of "revolutionaries" robbing a cell phone store made his Che Guevara piece a little ironic . . . "Why would someone paint pictures of a revolutionary when you can actually behave like one instead?" I like that he admits that even the people he's writing for (specifically those behind the wall in Palestine) don't welcome his work.

At the same time there still seems to be an arrogance in Banksy, his view of the world being above reproach. I may not agree with everything he preaches but I do like that he challenges everything we hold dear about society, because a complacent society is a dangerous place. His work can make you think and challenge your complacency, if you let it. He goes straight to the heart of our societal problems (money, war, obesity, consumerism & capitalism as the highest good, class inequity and the unequal distribution of food, water and wealth in the world) and makes these issues funny and frequently uncomfortable.

He pushes art for the people pointing out something that I'd never really thought about before. "We the people, affect the making and the quality of most of our culture, but not our art . . . The Art we look at is made by only a select few. A small group create, promote, purchase, exhibit, and decide the success of Art . . . When you go to an Art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires." It makes me wonder how Banksy feels about his fame, wealth and celebrity followers. I'd like to believe he simply doesn't care.

The art makes me laugh and evokes strong emotional responses as I look at it. I wish I owned this book so I could look at it again and again. But, having said all of this, I still wouldn't want my son to grow up to be a graffiti writer. But, I don't want him to grow up to be an advertising executive either.
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