la pensée sauvage - the savage pansy (flyingover) wrote,
la pensée sauvage - the savage pansy

The London-based street artist Banksy presents a number of fascinating tensions through which to study street art as social action. He is able to use the geography of the city as a mise-en-scene for social critique, combining recognizable images and symbols into new statements and placing these in unexpected—but highly visible—places in the city. Banksy’s highly recognizable work has become quite famous internationally, in no small part for its social critique, which has both proponents and detractors. In August, Banksy painted several pieces in the city of New Orleans to commemorate the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, causing bloggers and graffiti enthusiasts to sing his praises. But the paintings beg several questions. Can graffiti serve as public discourse, as Banksy claims, or does it alienate its target audience by being perceived as property destruction? Banksy seems to have overcome this problem in England, where his graffiti is considered art, but how does crossing national boundaries change the way his work is perceived? Additionally, how do new media such as blogs and internet news change the process by which Banksy’s work is understood? Can street art, which relies so heavily on location both in terms of immediate placement and cultural relevance, be effective when made by a cultural outsider?
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