Just several days after thumbing his nose at a New York police force hellbent on hunting him down, the mysterious graffiti maestro seems to have lost the upper hand. His website reports simply that "today's art has been cancelled due to police activity." No details. No word on whether tomorrow's art will be in place. Just that cryptic brief. That makes today the first day that Banksy has failed to add a new piece to his project during his month-long New York City residency.
Has Banksy finally been caught, as Mayor Bloomberg so anxiously desires? Is he in jail right now, itching to keep his identity a secret before the press finds out? No one's quite sure, since no one actually knows who Banksy is or what he looks like:
A complication for finding out if Banksy has been arrested: cops don't know his real name, and neither do I.— jdavidgoodman (@jdavidgoodman) October 23, 2013
Gothamist reported a rumor that the artist was arrested in the 79th Precinct early this morning, but an NYPD spokesperson has emphatically denied that that's the case. But then there's the possibility that the cancellation message is today's art, as one satirical account lightly suggests. Perhaps we're all pawns—frankly, it really wouldn't be the strangest piece of performance art we've seen in the past month.
At any rate, it's not the only time this week that Banksy's work seems to have hit a roadblock. Cops have already threatened to ticket the artist's Ronald McDonald shoe shine piece from Monday, and a more recent piece has raised questions of ownership and public property after one local tried to sell pieces of it for $100. (The sculpture was later stolen by some unknown guys with a truck.) Yet another graffiti work, proclaiming "GHETTO 4 LIFE," has understandably rankled residents of the South Bronx:
Consider it advice for any artist: there is such a thing as outstaying your welcome, even when nobody knows who (or where) you actually are.
Lower photo of Bronx art via Twitter/@NYPost.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.