Banksy Oil Spill Sculpture Garners New Meaning As UK Art Institutions Get Cosy With BP
Banksy has been busy in the run-up to Christmas. He has just posted a timely and never before seen wall-piece on his website. It is a text piece executed in the Canary Wharf financial district,London. While viewing this work I was also struck by a sculpture assembled about a year ago of a children’s coin operated ride, of the sort you might see outside of a supermarket. It depicts a mini BP oil spill with a dolphin trapped in a net. This subject matter gathers new meaning with the reports that the Tate Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, British Museum and the Royal Opera House have all just signed up to another five years of sponsorship from the disgraced oil giant. (see photo)
The elusive Banksy has also been pushing his work in the direction of text art, as two new works appear at Canary Wharf, a stones throw away from many of the multinational banks. ‘Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock’ is a text narrative which pokes fun at the ‘high living Wharf Culture’ and how it can go terribly wrong. The other states, “You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky”
Banksy’s work typically includes satirical social and political commentary, and ranges from murals to sculpture and installation, often playing with the contextual aspects of the work. He also recently designed a 3 dimensional adaptation of a Monopoly Board with Mr Moneybags portrayed as a down and out panhandler. There are large scale models of playing pieces, including a sports car (to represent bankers) and a red plastic house with a Tox tag sprayed onto it. This is a reference to the jailed London Graffiti artist TOX and also a visual play on the toxic morgages that kick started the current recession. The work of art is has already become a tourist attraction. The artist’s first solo show was held in 2002 at Los Angeles’ 33 1/3 Gallery, and in 2003 he was commissioned to design to cover of Blur’s ThinkTank. Today, Banksy’s work appears internationally; most notably, he painted nine sardonic images on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier. In Summer 2009, Banksy took over the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery with an exhibition attracting over 300,000 visitors and hour-long queues all the way down the road. Most recently the artist has experimented with film, achieving an Oscar nomination for his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop.