Banksy -- a pseudonym for the elusive graffiti artist currently staging a monthlong “residency” in New York City -- is a wanted man. The NYPD’s vandal squad is combing through surveillance footage in the areas where the British-born artist has left his wall stencils, a source told the New York Post.
“They want to question him in connection with the vandalism,” the source said. “If they catch him, he will be charged with vandalism.”
So far, Banksy is responsible for 17 installations in different neighborhoods throughout the city.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on Banksy’s New York City residency during a press conference on Wednesday, saying the artist shouldn’t be permitted to use public property to display his stencils.
“Graffiti does ruin people’s property, and it’s a sign of decay and loss of control,” Bloomberg said. “Art is art and nobody’s a bigger supporter of the arts than I am. I just think there are some places for art and some places where — no art.”
“And you running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art,” Bloomberg said. “Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted, and I think that’s exactly what the law says.”
According to the Post, the Mayor's office said they will remove any of Banksy's work on public property.
Banksy, meanwhile, doesn’t appear to be worried about the negative attention. Today on his website, the street artist posted a photo of the Post with a caption that reads: “I don't read what i believe in the papers.”
So far, Banksy’s New York residency has taken the city by storm, attracting large crowds and plenty of press attention. His latest work can be found in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg -- not Bedford-Stuyvesant, as originally reported -- and it appears to portray two silhouetted figures crossing a bridge.
Yesterday, Banksy unveiled another creation in the South Bronx -- a fiberglass replica of Mcdonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald having his shoes shined by a real-life person. According to his website, “The sculpture will visit the sidewalk outside a different McDonald’s every lunchtime for the next week.”
As the Post points out, an audio explanation on Banksy’s website says the McDonald’s piece is “a critique of the heavy labor required to sustain the polished image of a mega-corporation.”
“Is Ronald’s statuesque pose indicative of how corporations have become the historical figures of our era?” the audio narrator asks. “Does this hero have feet of clay — and a massively large foot print to boot?”
Meanwhile, fans will continue to flock to Banksy’s work as the NYPD tries to identify the famous graffiti artist.