Banksy’s “Better Out Than In” Artist Residency Recap

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

October 31, Queens

On October 1, Banksy announced to the world that he was coming to New York to turn the city into a month-long street art exhibition, “Better Out Than In.” Bansky debuted a new piece every day, documenting his self-appointed artist residency through his website and social media. More than anything, the unconventional exhibition proved to be an experiment with the effects of hype on the art world. With auction prices of Bansky’s work often in the millions, the artist was well-aware that anything he so much as touched with a spray can would skyrocket in value. Through the multimedia component of his exhibition — the sarcastic, museum-style audio guides reachable through 800-numbers sprayed next to the artworks — he ironically denounced his own work, mocking it for repetitive motifs and cliche allusions. But simultaneously, he challenged his viewers’ conceptions of the value we place on art.

Banksy stood to gain nothing through this project — in fact, some of the pieces ended up greatly financially aiding others, like the painting he “vandalized” and donated back to a thrift store or the pieces he sold anonymously through a vendor in Central Park for $60 each to unsuspecting tourists. He watched as people defaced his work with their own tags with the hope of 15-minutes of Instagram fame hours after it was put up on the street and witnessed people charging others to view the work he sprayed on their walls (There is a great video of this from East New York, below). He even wrote a controversial op-ed that the New York Times rejected (again, see below). Animatronic sculptures and traveling installations became part of his ouvre. One might have expected a grand closing statement on the last day of the show, but instead we were given a simple bubble-letter throwie of his name. But the most compelling statement of “Better Out Than In” was Banksy’s conclusion that, despite the millions he can easily make with anything he does, he continues to believe in the populist idea that art is better served outside for everyone to enjoy — and tag and steal.

October 30, Yankee Stadium

October 29, 23rd St.

October 27, Op-ed rejected by the New York Times and Banksy’s response in Greenpoint

October 18, West 24th St.

October 16, all of NYC

October 11, Meat Packing District

October 10, East New York

October 9, Lower East Side

October 5, all of NYC

October 4, Delancey

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