Banksy Debuts His COVID-19 Art Project: Good to See That He Has TP at Home

“Who is Banksy?” asked an Art­net roundup of pos­si­ble sus­pects in 2016. One might well respond, “who cares?”—a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion Artnet’s Hen­ri Neuen­dorf answers. At least a few years ago, before some oth­er things got seri­ous­ly out of hand, the iden­ti­ty of the noto­ri­ous gueril­la street artist turned inter­na­tion­al man of mys­tery was “an obses­sion that seems to have gripped the world.”

One answer, assessed by cura­tor and street art expert Car­lo McCormick, was arrived at through the use of geo­graph­ic pro­fil­ing, a “sophis­ti­cat­ed sta­tis­ti­cal analy­sis tech­nique used in crim­i­nol­o­gy to locate repeat offend­ers.” McCormick rates its con­clu­sion as prob­a­ble, but also finds it “scary” to bend such meth­ods to such ends, an anx­i­ety res­o­nant with con­cerns over sur­veil­lance tech used to track COVID-19 vec­tors.

Anoth­er ques­tion is whether it mat­ters who Banksy is. “The improb­a­bly ornate fic­tion is always going to be more com­pelling than the sim­ple mun­dane truth.” Do we real­ly need to ruin the illu­sion? If those who want to remain anony­mous can be tracked with algorithms—while the rest of us vol­un­teer our per­son­al data dai­ly in a cul­ture of com­pet­i­tive oversharing—is there any room left for pri­va­cy? Now that we’re trapped inside for days on end with fam­i­lies, room­mates, part­ners, pets, maybe our only per­son­al space is in the loo (where we’re still inclined to bring our phones).


View this post on Insta­gram


. . My wife hates it when I work from home.

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

Banksy’s lat­est work, post­ed on Insta­gram, plays with all of these themes and shows he doesn’t have a prob­lem defac­ing his own prop­er­ty, and shar­ing an inti­mate por­trait with his mil­lions of fol­low­ers. Hell, it’s almost a self­ie, minus the preen­ing, duck-faced self.

As Daria Harp­er writes at Art­sy:

The noto­ri­ous­ly elu­sive street artist Banksy debuted his lat­est work in a rather pecu­liar place: his bath­room. With much of the world on lock­down due to the COVID-19 cri­sis, artists like Banksy have been forced to get inno­v­a­tive with their artis­tic prac­tices. The artist post­ed pho­tos of the new art­work on his Insta­gram page yes­ter­day with the cap­tion: “My wife hates it when I work from home.”

Is this real­ly Banksy work­ing from home? (“One par­tic­u­lar­ly baf­fled com­menter,” notes Hyper­al­ler­gic, “wrote: ‘You are one of the world’s most famous artists… and THAT’S YOUR shit­ty lit­tle BATHROOM????’”)

Is there real­ly a Mrs. Banksy? Lit­tle Banksies run­ning around the yard, wear­ing coro­n­avirus face­masks and hood­ies? Is he on the verge of out­ing him­self? At least we know he’s still got toi­let paper.

Maybe you find this tan­ta­liz­ing win­dow on the artist’s inner sanc­tum cred­i­ble evi­dence of his mun­dane real life. Maybe the sig­na­ture rats destroy­ing his crap­per are his cab­in-fever dream. Or maybe, as usu­al, he’s just tak­ing the piss with this cre­ative instal­la­tion. We await com­ment from Mrs. Banksy.

via Boing Boing

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Banksy Strikes Again in Venice

Banksy Paints a Grim Hol­i­day Mur­al: Season’s Greet­ings to All

Behind the Banksy Stunt: An In-Depth Break­down of the Artist’s Self-Shred­ding Paint­ing

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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