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Legendary graffiti artist Banksy has announced a new exhibition of sorts called "Better Out Than In" which is described on its website as "an artists residencey on the streets of New York."

The Village Voice managed to track down the first piece, seen above, on 18 Allen Street on the Lower East Side. Accompanying the graffiti was a phone number (1-800-656-4271 #1), which when dialed, plays the following message:

Hello, and welcome to lower Manhattan. Before you, you will see a spray art by the artist Bansky [sic]. Or maybe not. It's probably been painted over by now. If, however, you can still make it out, you're looking at a type of picture called "graffiti," from the Latin "graffito," which means "graffiti, with an 'O.'" The children in this case represent youth, and the sign represents, well, signs.

Now let us pause for a moment to consider the deeper meaning of this work. Okay, that's long enough.

This piece is typical of Bansky's output, relying as it does on life-sized characters viewed at a level perspective in monochrome. This, in fact, is achieved by spraying automotive spray paint through an intricately-cut shape in a piece of cardboard. Or to give it its proper term: cheating.

What exactly is the artist trying to say here? Is this a response to the primal urge? To take the tools of our oppression and turn them into mere playthings? Or perhaps it is a postmodern comment on how the signifiers of objects have become as real as the objects themselves.

Are you kidding me? Who writes this stuff? Anyway, you decide. Really, please do. I have no idea. 

So it certainly doesn't look like Banksy hasn't lost any of his defining trait: thumbing his nose at the ridiculousness of highbrow criticism. Attempts to dial a different extension besides 1 yielded a message saying that the extension was not available "at this time."

The graffiti has already undergone further vandalization.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.