Banksy hits New York

Just came across this article posted on BBC News and was pleased to see that they included a video clip of the exhibition too.   (BBC NEWS article)

Little unsure of how Banksy would hold a major exhibition without being seen by anyone… but I guess that’s all part of the charm of his work and the artist himself.

Cracking exhibition which I really enjoyed watching the video for.

Below is the article from The Independant which goes into a bit more detail and explains a little more of the thought behind it – again, a really enjoyable read – and comes complete with pictures!

Banksy becomes a pet shop boy in New York

Artist’s 7th Avenue ‘shop’ installation has customers and art world surprised

By Arifa Akbar, Arts Correspondent
Friday, 10 October 2008

For days, New Yorkers had walked past workmen installing a pet shop. Spotting what appeared to be a leopard and monkey through the window on 7th Avenue, a few had even marched in to complain about the small space in which the wild animals were confined. But yesterday, The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill was revealed to be the latest work by the street artist Banksy, complete with convincingly real “animatronic” creatures that moved around the store to beguile onlookers.

The pet shop is open for business every day until midnight until 31 October and although people cannot buy its contents, they can walk in and view the “exhibition”, Banksy’s first in New York.

Artworks inside include two fish fingers floating in a fish bowl, robotic rabbits wearing pearl necklaces, a couple of chicken nuggets which appear to be sipping ketchup, hot dogs writhing underneath heat lamps and a CCTV camera nurturing its young. A middle-aged man in overalls, employed by Banksy, dragged an “Open for Business” sign on to the pavement yesterday to mark its opening.

The street artist from Bristol offered a written explanation for the installation. He said: “New Yorkers don’t care about art, they care about pets. So I’m exhibiting them instead.”

He added that there was a serious, philosophical aspect to the work, saying: “I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing.”

For fans of his work, the sudden emergence of the guerrilla artwork was a characteristic move. There was no opening party, no guest-list and no complimentary drinks. The shop had taken him four weeks to refit a store that had sold trinkets. Before it was outed as an artwork by The New York Times, it had attracted genuine customers last weekend, who were sent away by workmen who claimed the shop was not quite ready for business.


It is the latest in a string of cultural hijackings that have seen Banksy travel the world installing fake museum exhibits, and statues. What appeared to be most extraordinary for New Yorkers yesterday was that the pet shop appeared to be a fully functioning retail outlet that boasted a menagerie of lifelike models of exotic creatures and several endangered species of wild birds.

There had been hints that Banksy was in town, days before the pet shop appeared, with a series of giant rat paintings appearing across lower Manhattan during the past seven days.

Banksy defended the pet show exhibition even though it contained no graffiti by saying: “If it’s art and you can see it from the street, I guess it could still be considered street art.”

The exhibition is clearly visible day and night through the large shop frontage and has caused scenes of congestion and concern amongst local residents. Banksy said: “There have been complaints from people who are unhappy about being on their way to work and seeing two hot dogs performing a sex act. But it’s no more unnatural than the process behind making a sausage in the first place.”

About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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