<body> Public Ad Campaign: Banksy Colossal Media Hit
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Banksy Colossal Media Hit

Turns out the Banksy murals were advertisements after all. They did preempt his new show called The Village Pet Store And Grill.

Update: Banksy's team passed on this quote to us, regarding the billboards: "I wanted to play the corporations at their own game, at the same scale and in the same locations. The advantage of billboard companies is that they’ll let you write anything for money, even if what you write is questioning the ethics of letting someone write anything because they have money."

This is simply not true. Billboard companies will not let you write anything you want as long as you pay them. A good example of this is Susan Opton's Soldier Billboard Project which came up against massive barriers until it finally found a home in Syracuse among others. The fact of the matter is Banksy isn't really putting anything all that challenging out there and that is why there was no problem contracting an outdoor advertising company to do his bidding. Again the use of the I NY campaign is a nod to the cities use of cultural economics to repaint a vision of the city to its own liking (in direct opposition to the Graffit and Street Art movements use of the city) and not a scathing indictment of our cultural politics. Nor do I believe his work is "...

questioning the ethics of letting someone write anything because they have money." Did he not pay to put those billboards up? In what way does that question the ethics of who gets to promote their visual messages in our public environment. Destroy a fucking billboard and then we can talk about challenging the usage of public space.

On another note. I have been posting about the reinvigoration of Banksy's work with some sort of political credibility by forcing its removal as a way to shine a light on the growing illegal billboard problem in the city. Sadly I will be unable to do this because it turns out everything him and colossal have done was legal. Provided there are no commercial messages in the work and permission has been granted by the landlord, you may paint anything on the side of a building provided it agrees wth the zoning regulations in the area. So much for converting this into a potent piece of art which could help illuminate important city issues. So contact your local landlord, grab a paint brush and get to work.

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