Skip to main content

A Rotten Stroke Spoils the Whole Artwork: My Critique of Banksy

I was recently thinking about how I used to enjoy Banksy's artwork. If you're having trouble putting the art to the artist, they stenciled this image of a man with a bouquet in his hand, instead of a grenade, presumably. A few years back, I made a photo album on Facebook that included some of their art works. Most of the photos in the collection were of the political variety, those maudlin works of art that are usually tainted by some iota of hypocrisy and always tainted with evil aggression. I really liked their art style a few years back, but nowadays it leaves me feeling sick to my stomach. It's as if I retain that it's objectively good, that Banksy has an objective skill or set of skills, but that I can no longer enjoy it.

I suppose the first thing that bugs me is how Banksy uses art to convey political messages. The first problem I see here is that art can never properly convey political messages. A batch of spray paint on some grimy wall in England simply cannot properly account for any ideology, especially an ideology that finds itself globalized, that is to say, an ideology that exists at numerous points. Banksy's art stays on a single wall, in reality; yet ideology keeps its place in the minds of many, meaning that it is at many points.

Related to the note above, they criticize social media, yet have their own Instagram account. The only place I've ever seen Banksy's work is on the Internet, ironically enough. For Banksy to be deemed a social activist for merely spraying some conflict-theory oriented images also seems a tad bourgeois to me.

The second thing that bugs me is that Banksy wants to focus on politics at all. The most beautiful art tends to be that which focuses on something higher than the ordeals of this world. Yet Banksy and their propagators want to make the rest of us feel bad by complaining about capitalism, technology, religion, and other subjects I'm guessing they're not well-studied in. The aesthetic magniloquence of their work offers no proper response to the ugliness they so wish to be absolved of; it is mere critical theory without any answers or any theory for that matter. If rhetoric were an art style, it would be defined as 'Banksy.'

Comments