This morning we received a tip saying: "Didn't get a pic, but it's off the LIE, near Van Dam Street, where LEWY and ADEK hit up a few throwies on the roof." This was in reference to a new Banksy piece, and we've already got someone on the way there. Meanwhile, Banksy himself just confirmed the piece on his Instagram and website, where he says: "Thanks for your patience. It's been fun. Save 5pointz. Bye." The exact location is Borden Avenue and 35th Street. We'll have more from the scene shortly...
So this means that the piece in FiDi probably isn't a Banksy, unless he's leaving treats all over the city.
Here's what the audio on his website says, to accompany the piece, which is an inflatable throw-up that looks like a tag.
Well, this is the last day of the show, and I'd like to say we're going out on a high note. And, I guess in a way, we are. [Cue "New York, New York"] This is a sideways take on the ubiquitous spray-painted bubble lettering that actually floats. It's an homage of sorts to the most prevalent form of graffiti in the city that invented it for the modern era. Or, it's another Banksy piece that's full of hot air.
So, what does the artist hope to have achieved with this so-called residency. Shame it didn't get any press. He told me "If just one child has been inspired to pick up a can of paint and make some art--well that would be statistically disappointing considering how much work I put in."
It's been an interesting experiment, but is there a cohesive message behind it. I gave the artist two minutes to think of one.
Banksy asserts that outside is where art should live, amongst us. And rather than street art being a "fad," maybe it's the last thousand years of art history that are the blip. When art came inside in service of the church and institutions. But art's rightful place is on the cave walls of our communities. Where it can act as a public service, provoke debate, voice concerns, forge identities.
The world we live in today is run, visually at least, by traffic signs, billboards, and planning committees. Is that it? Don't we want to live in a world made of art, not just decorated by it?
Thanks for coming.
UPDATE, 12 p.m.: Larry Perez, who works in the warehouse across the street from the piece, tells us it went up around 6:30 a.m. today—"I saw three guys put it up. They had a rental truck, they had on reflective vests, they just put the ladder up, and they threw it up. They had it in a bag, they opened up the bag and just tied it down, and then that’s it." Perez added that he does not know who Banksy is.
Also, Big Red is on the scene!
UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: The balloons are now gone. The two guys who tried to take them were handcuffed (onlookers called the cops) and taken in. But when they first got down, one was attacked by a Banksy Fan!
We called DCPI but they don't have any information yet. We'll update when we know more. (UPDATE: More information on one of the men arrested here.)
Additional reporting by Kelly Weill