A new piece by Banksy called "Fallen Soldier" (Photo courtesy banksy.com)


Genius or Scam Artist?

Artist and provocateur Banksy is a walking, breathing oxymoron. Depending on who you ask, he is either a genius or an overhyped vandal, a talented documentary filmmaker or a brilliant scam artist. As a self-described art terrorist, he is both a lefty and a critic of liberal piety. He flips off the art world establishment, and yet courts the very art world he claims to detest. He is a street artist who sells his work for high sums in galleries and auction houses, and “an anarchist environmentalist who travels by chauffeured S.U.V.”1


Banksy's “Keep It Spotless,” a collaboration with Damien Hirst, sold for $1.8 million at Sotheby's in 2008. It remains the artist's highest reported sale. I suppose we should be grateful that someone decided to do something useful with some of the extra spot paintings Hirst had kicking around!



As the Guardian reported, a recent poll of 18- to 25-year-olds named Banksy an “arts hero” in third place behind Walt Disney and Peter Kay, and ahead of Leonardo da Vinci. (Banksy photo courtesy meh.ro)