Where have all the Banksy’s gone?

UPDATE: Please also read this new post about how the below artwork was removed by Ace Gallery.

Two things by Banksy, separated by thousands of miles, have disappeared in the last 24 hours.

First, Los Angeles is abuzz with the news that Banksy’s stencil of a guard and Jeff Koons-style dog has been removed from its location on an empty building:

When this stencil first appeared, it wasn’t clear if the dog was meant to be an actual balloon animal or a reference to the Jeff Koons artwork (or both). Given a comment Tim McCool made on Hyperallergic though, it is clear that this piece is referencing Koons. According to McCool, “There’s a Koons quote: ‘Abstraction and luxury are the guard dogs of the upper class.’ So Banksy is accusing Koons’ work of being in the same category of unintelligible, abstract, and ludicrously expensive art.” Given that, I’ve totally changed my opinion of this piece. At first I found it kind of boring, but this 2nd meaning, I’d say this piece was much more interesting. It’s great when Banksy comes up with pieces that have 2 or even three completely meanings depending on how you look at the piece. In this case, he’s combined an okay joke for the masses with witty commentary for the art-world elite (to be clear, I certainly am not including myself in the art-world elite. I never would have caught that 2nd meaning).

Shame that this piece had been removed. Hopefully it was taken down for the piece’s own protection and we’ll see it in a museum next week, but I’ve got a feeling that this was more about a property owner’s potential profits.

Photo by Jordan Seiler

And all the way back in New York City, Jordan Seiler of Public Ad Campaign has gone out and covered up those fly-posted adverts for Exit Through The Gift Shop with some of his artwork. I suppose that’s the scary power of the internet that one person can state an opinion and somebody else can take political action as a result. I’m not usually a big fan of abstract pieces, but I’d much rather see something like what Jordan has done here rather than some flyposted advertisements any day of the week (could that be part of what Jordan is trying to say with this series that he’s been putting up on billboards lately? I’m not sure).

An interesting day for Banksy artworks all around.