Vital Information (09-29-10)

In Banksy, Rich, Street Art, Vital Information on September 29, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Banksy In New Orleans

In 2008, three years after Katrina hit, New Orleans’ 9th Ward was still largely in a state of shambles.  Despite the initial public outcry over the government’s lackluster response in the face of this tragedy and the numerous celebrities ‘helping’ to raise awareness of the devastation there, countless neighborhoods were still uninhabitable.

This is when Banksy paid a visit to New Orleans.  Banksy’s arrival didn’t mark the coming of a hero, his art did not save lives nor did it help clean up the city.  What it did was make a very pointed statement about our culture.  Perhaps you can attribute it to our overstimulated brains or the prevalence of A.D.D., but for a culture that is so quick to arms, we don’t always show the most gusto when it comes to following through.  We may have pulled together in the late summer of 2005 to raise awareness, but how much rabble-rousing occurred on behalf of the still dilapidated city in 2008?  For that matter what is being done now in 2010 as the city continues to struggle with the restoration process?

Banksy, always quick with the satirical punch, used this third anniversary of Katrina to call attention to the lack of real assistance in the city of New Orleans.  He also took the opportunity to take a shot at Fred Radtke (a.k.a The Gray Ghost), the man who vowed to eliminate every piece of graffiti in New Orleans as part of the city’s post Katrina clean up efforts.  Which motive was more on his mind when he decided to canvas the city only Banksy knows, but either way he was able to stir up some much needed publicity for the relief efforts, and the resulting artwork is some of the best Banksy has done to date.

FACT:  Though the Gray Ghost (named for the gray paint he used to cover up graffiti) was celebrated by many for his attempt to rid the city of graffiti, some of the building owners were not among his admirers.  Not only was Mr. Radtke accused of infringing on people’s freedom of expression, but the Banksy pieces he painted over had added an estimated $75,000 to $200,000 to the building’s values.


Banksy Painting before and after the Gray Ghost painted over it

Banksy's image of a girl caught in a rain storm that is falling from inside her umbrella

Another tribute Banksy did to the Big Brass roots of New Orleans


– Rich


One Response to “Vital Information (09-29-10)”

  1. […] This post was Twitted by four5sixNY […]

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