Lauren Collins has a piece in The New Yorker on Banksy:
If Bristol is, as James told me, “the graffiti capital of England,” then Banksy is its patron sinner. One morning last June, citizens were surprised to find a new mural downtown, on the side of a sexual-health clinic. It depicted a window, a perfect imitation of others nearby. From the sill, a naked man dangled by his fingertips. Inside, a fully dressed man scanned the horizon, next to a woman in dishabille. Directly facing the fake window are the offices of the Bristol city council, which, in a departure from policy, decided to put the mural’s fate to a public vote. Of about a thousand respondents, ninety-three per cent said the mural should stay. So it did. (In late April, however, London authorities whitewashed Banksy’s famous “Pulp Fiction” mural, which showed John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson holding bananas instead of handguns.)
“Banksy’s latest work of art is superb,” a man wrote to the local paper. “If the council wants to do something it should cut down that dreadful shrub which is obscuring the piece.” Gary Hopkins, a councilman, told me, “I think we undermined his street cred by making him mainstream.” Even James admitted to a grudging affection for Banksy. “I like the one where he’s got a picture of a stream and a bridge and he’s just dumped a shopping trolley in there,” she said, referring to a painting that Banksy did in the style of Monet. “I can relate to that, because we’ve got a problem with shopping trolleys.”
The elephant may have been in the room, but by the end of its stay it had lost its sheen. Tai, the 38-year-old painted pachyderm that was the centrepiece of the first major US show by the British graffiti artist Banksy, was scrubbed down on Sunday on the orders of the Los Angeles department of animal services.
Families visiting Disneyland on their holiday this week saw a life-size Guantanamo bay inmate standing inside the Rocky Mountain Railroad ride at Disneyland in Anaheim California.
The sculpture, consisting of an inflatable doll dressed in an orange jumpsuit with its hands and feet manacled remained in place for one and a half hours before Disneyland’s security staff shut down the ride and removed it amid fears over public safety.
What is disappointing about the authority’s attitude is that Australia is probably still the only country in the world to have elevated a graffiti writer to the status of national public hero. Arthur Stace was an alcoholic from the slums of Sydney who found God while listening to a Baptist preacher in a hostel in the 1940s and took to writing the word “eternity” on the ground in chalk. He rendered it in meticulous copperplate script more than half a million times across Sydney over the next three decades, becoming an urban legend before his death in 1967 at the age of 83. He has since been honoured by a plaque, a range of council-approved merchandise and was the centrepiece of celebrations when the word “eternity” in his trademark hand was lit up in 100ft-high letters on Sydney harbour bridge to mark the new millennium. Here.