Finally, just around 1 p.m. today Banksy posted two photos on his Instagram account, showing his new pieces (both Os Gemeos collaborations) on West 24th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. But how new are they? These were on the cover of the Village Voice issue that he was interviewed in recently.
The hanging pieces appear to have a security team, and Banksy's accompanying text says: "Are you the sort of person who enjoys going to art galleries, but wished they had more gravel in them? Then this temporary exhibition space is for you. Housing just two paintings but also featuring a bench, some carpet and complimentary refreshments. Opens today through Sunday 11 a.m. til midnight."
UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: Robert Dunning is on the scene and tells us the guards are not letting any other people in to the roped off area right now.
While one guard is answering "I have no answer for you" to all questions (standard Banksy protocol), another—Irvin from Williamsburg—answered some of our questions, telling us he was "hired by the security company contracted by the artist," adding that there are three of them on staff, and many more on call. He told us, "We are prepared for any vandalism attempts."
UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: They just opened it up to a bit of the crowd. Security is asking some people to wrap it up and leave so they can let others in. They seem to be letting 30 or 40 in at a time. Waiting for the crowd to leave then letting in another group.
The spot is NOT owned by Pace Gallery (where David Byrne set up in 2011), as we originally thought. They own half the lot, this is on the other half.
UPDATE 3 p.m.: The lot is owned by Chelsea developer (and former broker) Alf Naman, who built that striking sci-fi building HL23, overlooking the High Line. We're told Naman is out of town and could not be reached for comment—a representative said she would get back to us on his involvement in the Banksy installation.
UPDATE, 10/20: There's a Banksy balloon girl hidden in plain sight inside one of the pieces!
Additional reporting by Robert Dunning and John Del Signore