Lord 'Art Bitch' Gollightly takes a swipe at 'secret' stencillist and 'media darling' Banksy.

As this issue centers on hip hop we decided to stick to the theme in our art section and chat to 'street-arty' types, the fab James Jessop and the godfather of the sticker movement, Mr Wim. When we told this to our art critic (or more like art 'cynic') Lord Gollightly, only one choked word escaped his lips ..'Banksy..'. Here our 'art bitch' takes a swipe at 'secret' stencilist and 'media darling', criticism rarely expressed by the mainstream press, as Lord Gollightly points out..

The answer has eluded me. Why on earth are certain anonymous graffiti-doers regarded as genius when they clearly are just boneheads? To find the answer maybe we should examine actually who regards them as genius. Well, it’s not the art world. Anyone I have met within this world who both has two brain cells to rub together, and isn’t obsessed with self-publicity masquerading as media manipulation, (i.e. about 0.05% of the art world but thankfully about 60% of the ones I knock around with) would be very ashamed to admit even having the slightest time of day for a Banksy, safe in the knowledge they’d be laughed out of the room if they did. Indeed, the more enterprising amongst my friends have demonstrated on several occasions how easy it is to forge a Banksy - using the convenience of his incognito status, as there will be no-one to sue them or be up in arms about it, but also taking advantage of the crass nature of any Banksy piece. Any decent artist just has to look in the waste paper bin of their studio to find any number of Banksworthy ideas, bung it out in 30 seconds and done. One friend of mine sold their “Banksy” for £20,000. haha. The point was, that it didn’t really matter to the buyer whether or not it was real - it looked real to them and as long as they could go round telling their mates they owned a Banksy, safe in the knowledge that it is, who is it hurting? I think we should all do it. It’s a fun game.
 
Banksy owes much of his success to the fact that, like any good vanity publisher or vanity artist or vanity blogger, he has been able to cut out the middle man, the one who - invested with a little historical knowledge and curatorial flair, itself filtered through a worthy education system and often years of experience, will decide what should and should not be seen by the general public. In an age in which social networking media has allowed individuals to write and control output rather than media streams, this is regarded as a somehow “more democratic” means of doing things. But there are clear restrictions to this. You see, if Banksy had gone down the traditional route of finding people interested in exhibiting his work and then becoming well-known, well, he would never have become well known - because there is nothing original nor clever about his work when pitted against what is already out there. In this sense, Banksy is to art as the X-Factor is to music, in which our wannabe celebrities and those who make piles of money from them, can’t be arsed to actually show us how good they are over years of slogging in a studio and touring, eventually making the top ten amongst the millions of competitors, but through cheesy rhetoric and a terrible tv show paid for by crisp and pop (pop to drink) manufacturers manage to “cut out the middle man” and get straight to no.1. That week.
 
“What’s wrong with that?” I hear you cry, “If the work is decent then it’s good that we have got to see it”. I’ll tell you what, reader. And I’ll tell you why this anonymous tosser has been so championed by our usually so right-wing press too. What Banksy does is similar to what so many that oppose the “powers that be” do. What I mean by that is the endless parade of numbskulls who despite an education and a glimmer of intelligence, still cannot fathom why on earth we would not want to promote consumer capitalism and plutocracy and allow it to take over the world. Those who cannot see that the insidious colonisation of our being and our planet by entities whose only world-view is to make as much money as possible might not be an altogether good thing for anyone, let alone everyone. Through years of systematic manipulation, they have managed to actually get the opposition on their side. That’s why, far from it being a media invention, it’s actually true in real life that many of these people do take a lot of drugs, don’t take a lot of baths, and when not protesting can be seen whirling around funny rainbow coloured ribbons in the corner of some field in Glastonbury, imagining that someone is interested, to no-one. Many of them have dreadlocks too.

'Banksy is the perfect media darling. Through his anonymity (gladly promoted and furthered by the press who clearly know who he is and could expose him if they wished) they never have anyone to interview. Therefore we never get to see the point or even a counterpoint, the media can report what they like. It makes the middle classes wet themselves with the idea that we do live in a balanced world, thank god Banksy is here to tell the world how crap it is, so we don’t have to, so we can go back to Eastenders and our mind-numbing jobs safe in the knowledge that something is being done. Of course the powers that be could if they wanted have those who oppose them exterminated in a minute, but the effect would only be that the people they enslave with half wits would start making the noise and stop buying the microwave ovens.
 
Furthermore, Banksy actually serves to promote that which he could claim to be critical of. Tescos are happy just as Disney and the American Imperialist machine, to be the butt of Banksy’s art. As if to say, the only people who oppose us, are the people who are not mainstream, are underground, anonymous, part of some social circle no doubt populated by criminals, bus-stop-smasher-uppers and the like. The idea of Tesco being publicly opposed by someone with a job, in a suit, with a hatchback car and a picnic set, is preposterous. Proof that Tescos, Disney and BP are civilised companies for civilised people who don’t mind us knowing their name to the extent that they will embrace ID cards. And any niggles they have? Well, they have Banksy to do it for them.
 

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