Banksy Finishes His NYC Residency With Bubble Letter Balloons in Long Island City (And a Plea to Save 5Pointz)

Categories: Banksy

And it's all over, folks. Banksy sends us off with one last tag, a bubble-caps collection of balloons somewhere in Queens.

Listening to the audio on Banksy's homepage, it's hard not feel just a little bit sad. The narrator assesses the impact of "Better Out Than In," musing on art as a public good and throwing one last barb at the art world establishment.

Banksy asserts that outside is where art should live, amongst us. And rather than street art being a fad, maybe its the last thousand years of art history that are the blip, when art came inside in service of the church and institutions.

Art's rightful place on the cave walls of our communities, where it can act as a public serivce, provoke debate, voice concerns, forge identities.

The world we live in today, visually at least, is run by traffic signs, billboards, and planning committees. Is that it? Don't we want to live in a world made of art, not just decorated by it?

Oh, and one more thing, from his website:

"And that's it. Thanks for your patience. It's been fun. Save 5pointz. Bye."

On the next page is the complete map of Banksy's "Better Out Than In" residency. We'll update with a map to the location of the latest (last!) work.

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Fritz Orzelek
Fritz Orzelek

It’s lonely at the top, or so it seems for the renegade impresario Banksy. Beyond the personal anonymity and his cloak and dagger tactics lies an artist surely at the top of his game and formerly resident of the Big Apple. In his rejected op-Ed editorial for the New York Times, he argues that the biggest eyesore in New York is not the graffiti, but the “Shyscraper” under construction at ground zero. “One World Trade declares the glory days of New York are gone.” “It would be easy to view One World Trade Centre as a betrayal of everyone who lost their lives on September 11th, because it so clearly proclaims the terrorists won. He goes on, “Those 10 men have condemned us to live in a world more mediocre than the one they attacked, rather than be a catalyst for a dazzling new one.” Banksy makes reference to the “mercurial and the brave” who he believes represent the city’s “true heritage”, well represented by innovative trailblazers especially in the arts and other disciplines. February 12th, 1924, Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Orchestra premiered an “Experiment in Modern Music”, that being George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, which some critics called crude, but acknowledged its originality, a composition now etched in history. Benny Goodman’s famous 1938 Carnegie Hall concert became a landmark recording and one of the first records to be issued on the newly developed long playing format, also etched in history. Thelonious Monk’s landmark six month residency in June of 1957 at the Five Spot Cafe, leading a quartet with the likes of John Coltrane, Wilbur Ware on bass, and Shadow Wilson on drums referred to as no less than “mystical and magical” during its tenure. The “Pope of Pop” Andy Warhol became a leading figure in the visual art movement of the 1960’s producing works from "The Factory," Warhol's aluminum foil-and-silver-paint-lined studio on 47th Street. During a symposium on popular art in December of 1962 at the Museum of Modern Art, Warhol and his contemporaries were “attacked” for "capitulating" to consumerism. Warhol and the city were at the center of that shift in the visual arts during the 60’s. New York has been home to Gustav Mahler, Bela Bartok, Aaron Copland, Roy Lichtenstein, Leonard Bernstein and many other dignitaries even without mention to the countless luminaries in and outside of the arts. Banksy’s October 4th tagging of “Playground Mob”, “Occupy”, and “Dirty Underwear” “The Musicals” fires a poignant disparagement at the state of Broadway, the pinnacle of which includes the ageless and timeless works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim. The mercurial and the brave. So on Halloween evening, as the virtual gavel closed on the “Bidding for Good” auction ‘Banality” piece, Banksy turned what was a $50 thrift shop painting into $615,000 for charity. Very nice. And for an October to remember, Banksy left a souvenir on his website and perhaps the tag of all tags.. “it’s been fun”.


This building is a few blocks from my house, so I just walked over to see it...and the "piece" is gone. Figures.

R.l. Procter
R.l. Procter

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Christina Ann Marie DiEdoardo
Christina Ann Marie DiEdoardo

Evidently, one step ahead of the NYPD's "Vandal Squad"...and somewhere, Mayor Bloomberg is gnashing his teeth "Why can no one bring me the head of this troublesome artist?" Ah, I miss my hometown :)

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