We revisited the site of the Banksy 9/11 street art stencil in TriBeCa, in New York City, this past weekend. There was again a crowd of between a half-dozen and a dozen people viewing the artwork and — yet again — another argument was unfolding between a visitor and a local resident.
Since our first visit the day Banksy put up the stencil artwork, a lot of other graffiti has gone up nearby and there have been attempts to deface the work. The artwork itself is a silhouette of the lower Manhattan skyline including a depiction of the iconic Twin Towers and one of the explosion fireballs on the building, represented by strategic placement of a fiery orange flower on one of the towers.
Somebody had installed a plexiglass cover over Banksy’s work to protect it from vandalism (ironic, right?), and residents in the apartment building across the narrow street were keeping a watchful, protective eye on the work. One of the residents admonished a viewer who was trying to remove the plexiglass and a heated argument between them ensued. The viewer argued that the plexiglass should be removed so that people can appreciate an unobstructed view of the work and see it as it was intended. The resident argued it should be protected and noted that already several people had tried to smash the cover by throwing bricks at it, hence the cracked plexiglass. Eventually the visitor walked off muttering that Banksy’s artwork “is just graffiti.”
Both people had a point. Their arguments underscore just how much of all of this is subject to debate given the circumstances and that the artwork is at once vandalism, illegal, ephemeral and of artistic, cultural significance.
As part of his month-long October residency and “Better In Than Out” art show in New York City, Banksy on Tuesday put up this stencil street art piece in TriBeCa depicting lower Manhattan’s pre-9/11 skyline with the Twin Towers in silhouette. The artwork is at the base of a building at the corner Jay and Staple streets and literally a few blocks away from the World Trade Center site. Visitors subsequently turned the sidewalk next to the street art into a mini shrine with candles, flowers and a handwritten note (see pix below). When we went to view the artwork late Tuesday night, a small crowd had gathered at the site and a heated argument was breaking out between a man making what seemed like spurious claims to be the building’s owner and a young woman holding a spray-paint can who said she wanted to write the words “Inside Job” on the wall nearby.
We went for late-night bicycle ride in downtown New York City last night after a late dinner and rainstorm and stumbled upon some fresh street art by the artist Rae in the Tribeca-Chinatown border area. This wheat-pasted artwork is on a billboard in a parking lot, and it’s probably the largest scale work we’ve seen by Rae so far.
Classic framed poster for Les Aventures de Tintin for the “Au Pays des Soviets” edition of the comic book series by Belgian author Herge (a.k.a, Georges Remi). This poster is in the bathroom of the Belgian restaurant Petite Abeille in Tribeca, in New York City. The entire restaurant is decorated with Tintin artwork and dozens upon dozens of Tintin comic books in French are in stacks at the bar.