September 2, 2010

performance art from Banksy?

Banksy has been at it again.  He has updated his website and posted pictures of some recent outdoor stencil pieces near the British seaside, and his guerilla installation at Brighton Pier of the reconditioned dolphin ride he originally showed at The Village Pet Shop and Charcoal Grill in New York, which has now been updated to include a ruptured BP oil drum and a wave of crude oil.

Then there was posted a video, "Royal Visit Glastonbury 2010", in which Banksy presents us with a hilarious encounter between a costumed hippy hemp enthusiast and the heir to the British throne. We were dumbfounded that the interaction was permitted to take place, as here in the US you wouldn't even get that sign up before security would be all over you. And throwing a sample bag of weed at "Charlie, Charlie" would be out of the question.  The episode displays the cunning of Borat, the brazen recklessness of Jackass and the irreverence towards celebrity of Punk'd.

And it raises numerous questions. Who is the hippy? Is it the same person who posed for the portrait in Times Square wearing a black ski mask back on May 19, 2010?  Is Banksy creating another "superstar" (in the Warholian sense) the way he created Mr Brainwash?  Are these "pranksy" pieces part of the next big Banksy project or just a diversion? Is it Banksy himself doing these actions? Is it a friend of Banksy's? Is it Robin Gunningham?

For those who don't follow the British tabloids, The Daily Mail ran an article in July 2008 claiming that it had tracked down the identity of Banksy, and that he is Robin Gunnigham (pictured above right). Comparing these two pictures, we cannot rule out that it s the same person in both.  Is this Banksy? And if so, what's he up to?

Check Banksy's website for future updates.

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