25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2005
Packed full of ideas and a few weird thoughts, this book contains many of Banksy's artistic endeavours - some old some new. Probably the most impressive has to be a trip to the West bank and the de-ja-vu one gets with parallels from the Berlin Wall art.
If Banksy is male, female, or a group of people - I have no idea. But it's a damn fine book and well worth the money if you want to get a glimps at what the underbelly of society thinks about politcal and social issues.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This is a brilliant book looking at the humorous, sometimes political, occasionally caustic and often thoughtful artwork of Banksy. It shows his most famous pieces, as well as demonstrating just how influential his style has become. This book has some fantastic commentary and quotes from Banksy that really add to the overall package and make you realise the ideas behind the art and artist. I found the paper quality to be excellent and I have to say I enjoyed this book more than expected and it left me with a new, deeper appreciation of Banksy's work. Highly recommended.
Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2006
Subversive, funny and inspiring - and so cheeky even your Nan would laugh at it (even though she doesn't approve of graffiti).
This boy's got more cheek than an elephant's bum, and he's clever with it: I can't recommend this book too highly.
Love the quote on the back from the Metropolitan Police, too!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2010
If you're going to get a Banksy book, get this one, it is written and devised by him, not one of his many admirers. Banksy is personal to me as one of his guerrilla statues stood opposite my house for a couple of years until the council removed it. I had no idea until I read this book that he had gone to the States to give them a piece of his mind. His work is funny and brilliant and clever. Long live Banksy and long live his beautiful and deeply thought-out frescoes. The streets are our gallery!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2009
Living fairly close to Bristol you come across the work of the illusive Banksy on a fairly regular basis. On a personal note his more artistic work actually enhances the buildings they are on and are actually becoming quite a tourist attraction. The only problem is the rest of the mindless graffiti that comes along side the good stuff
This is a really interesting book and an interesting read.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The work in this book will probably make you angry, make you laugh and inspire you in equal meassure.
An essential purchase for anyone interested in street art, modern design, urban fashions or.... even politics.
Some of the work in these pages reminds me of the visual way some of the Jewish prophets used to confront their contemporary society's ideas before the exile of Israel and Judah. Seriously.
Do buy this book, it's a good one.
To paraphrase Shakespeare: Who is Banksy? What is he? The answers will not be found in this book. There are many more pictures of the artist’s work than words describing it. The topic areas covered are ‘Monkeys’, ‘Cops’, ‘Rats’, ‘Cows’, ‘Art’ and ‘Street Furniture’. Elsewhere comments have been made about the poor quality of the photographic reproductions, but I wonder whether this is not another of the artist’s tilts at the conventional art scene?
Thought to have been born in Bristol in 1974, Banksy (whose real identity is unknown but may be Robert or Robin Banks) began as a freehand graffiti artist, spray-painting walls whenever an opportunity occurred. This proved time-consuming and led him to develop a stenciling technique that also enabled him the plan works in advance.
Banksy must have legions of more conventional artists in tears since he has found a way of communicating to the masses that would have impressed even Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and extends what Peter Blake achieved with his sleeve design for the Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album. Which other contemporary artist would rate as many Amazon reviews as this book has? Not Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst nor even the excellent communicator, Grayson Perry? Whilst I recognised the name and had read articles about people prising his work off public sites and trying to sell it at auction, I was unfamiliar with examples of Banksy’s work. So this book was a very welcome introduction and, when considered together, the artist’s work takes on a new level of significance.
Whilst there is no way of checking the details, it was fascinating to see how long his public exhibits, especially those in the hallowed sanctums of art such as Tate Modern, Louvre, New York Museum of Modern Art [6 days], Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum and the American Museum of Natural History [12 days], remained before they were discovered. Banksy’s primitive cave painting depicting a human figure hunting wildlife and pushing a shopping cart was found hanging in the British Museum [it was undiscovered for 8 days and is now in the permanent collection]. Banksy very effectively deflates the pompous puffery of art. He has the wit, skill and awareness of the constraints of contemporary society to launch successful attacks on political, economic, industrial and artistic power.
Amongst the many works shown are “Mona Lisa with a rocket launcher” [Soho, 2001, lasted 15 mins before being recognized], “Policemen kissing” [Soho, 2005] and “Buried Treasure” [Weston-super-Mare, 2003]. The siting of Banksy’s works is, of course, a significant contributor to its impact. Another photograph shows policemen at the 2003 May Day demonstration in London sharing the joke of a demonstrator holding a poster displaying one of the artist’s characteristic smiling police faces. Appreciating Banksy should not equate to denigrating artworks shown in galleries. The jump from the examples shown here to Duchamp’s 1917 “Fountain’, the urinal signed by ‘R. Mutt’, is not very great.
‘Wall and Piece’ will bring Banksy’s work to a wider audience and covers his stencils, street sculptures, poems, stunts, canvases and printed work. This limit on his spontaneity, as with his unofficial gallery ‘installations’, does not appear to have affected his ability to make his point as when a surveillance camera in Marble Arch targets a blank wall.
Some of his sharpest work occurs where it reinforces entrenched political opinion - his works on the Palestinian side of the Israeli West Bank barrier, shows a ladder climbing up and over the wall and a silhouette of a handful of balloons lifting a small girl off the ground. One of the works shown was sited in Tokyo and one wonders how the artist’s work is viewed in very different cultural and ethnic environments.
The bias of the book is very much towards the visual, it means that there is less opportunity for the artist to present some of his rather childish views, ‘There’s no point in behaving yourself. You’ll be punished for something you never did anyway.’ Other statements strike me as being spot on – ‘A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.’ and ‘People either love me or they hate me, or they don’t really care.’
This book has led to another convert to Banksianism.
on 18 January 2012
There are some things around us which make us stop and stare, others that don't move us at all or just piss us off. I knew Banksy's art before I knew who he was, and often it changed my day. Walking through the Brick Lane area is where I saw a drawing by him for the first time and the way he managed to trigger a flow of thoughts, uncomfortable, yet necessary thoughts, was unlike any well-written newspaper article (not many of those out there, sadly). His art shows that graffiti can be high level, a manifestation of cultural elements on a par with any painting, any Turner, any Van Gogh.
His characters animate the walls and the images become part of your scenery. He is right to say that graffiti shouldn't be outlawed, but I believe that not all of it is worth adorning the city walls. When it's witty, has a social message, and is masterfully done, yes, then that does make a difference to the streets. But what about the stupid, meaningless doodles that some brats spray onto beautiful old buildings just for fun, with no message to them or no artistic beliefs?
The wall can bring...peace. The title is reminiscent of Tolstoy's novel, and the collection of photos makes the viewer understand how graffiti has positive influences.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2012
I enjoyed this friend's book in the heart of rural N Ireland and decided it's an absolute must-have as an lover of good art, and as an activist and protester. The surprise was the quality of humorous content. It portrays, in real terms, in various everyday situations, an all time favourite story - Hans Christian Anderson's - the King and his set of Clothes. Wonderful stuff!!
on 16 December 2009
This is a good introductory book to enter into the world of one of the most famous contemporary art individual brands of the last decade.
The book is mostly made of pictures of works completed on walls in public spaces, although some works are more intimate, like the interventions on iconic works of art.
There is little text, but it is very illuminating non the less, and both provocative and thought-provoking. An excellent read to stimulate one's own consciousness of our world and our ability to think critically.
Some pictures are commented in more detail than others, which might leave the reader desperate for the artist's explanation on a work which has no accompanying text with it.
An excellent source for examples of applied and relevant creativity.
This book should appeal to the widest audience, even readers who are not into contemporary art in the first place.