If there's one thing guaranteed to get under my skin, then it's the way art has been hijacked by a few artists, exhibitors and buyers and transformed into a variant of the idiotic high fashion market, where only the happy few who are up to date with new lines of thought know what on Earth is going on. When Britain's only well-known artistic prize can be won by an empty room with a light bulb going on and off then the proverbial man in the street may feel that art, which surely should be for us all, has become elitist and irrelevant.
And so along comes Banksy, with art for the literal man in the street. Maybe it's that I collect super-hero comics, but I just love the whole secret identity thing. In a culture that is so sated with the idea of celebrity, here's an artist who doesn't want to be recognised so that he can be free to get on with his work. How refreshing is that?
But more, I love the work. Witty, thought provoking and, when at its best, as when pictures are painted on the wall the separates the Palestinians from Israel, they're downright powerful. (And to Banksy's great credit, he includes a brief conversation with an old Palestinian man which argues persuasively against creating art on the wall).
Don't be fooled by the low price, it's a big book with hundreds of pictures. And don't pay attention to the couple of reviewers who complain about the quality of the printing. Honestly, I don't know what they're on about. It's fine.
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