NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — British street artist Banksy has now hit all five boroughs in his month-long New York “residency” and his work has continued to turn heads.
The latest installment came in Queens, where he chose a desolate, muddy lot in front of a chain-link and barbed-wire fence in Willets Point for a replica of the iconic Egyptian Sphinx.
“No turn unstoned. A 1/36 scale replica of the great Sphinx of Giza made from smashed cinderblocks,” Banksy wrote on his website. “You’re advised not to drink the replica Arab spring water.”
The sculpture appeared at 35th Avenue and 127th Street in Queens, according to published reports. It is the 22nd installment since Banksy began his “Better out than in” residency in New York at the start of October.
Within hours of its appearance, the sphinx sculpture was dismantled and hauled off. A gallery offered Bernardo “Choco” Veles, the owner of the auto glass shop on whose property the sculpture was erected, a hefty sum of money, according to a New York Post report.
The artist generated controversy with another recent installation in the South Bronx. The installation on East 153rd Street shows a boy in street urchin clothes spraypainting “Ghetto 4 Life,” alongside a butler with a tray of more spraypaint at the ready.
Some residents told the New York Daily News the artwork sent an offensive message about the South Bronx, the newspaper reported. But the owners of the building want to preserve the work, the paper reported.
Also in recent days, Banksy has painted a silhouette of a child appearing to take a sledgehammer to a Siamese connection fire pipe alongside a building on the Upper West Side, and turned an anthill into what appears to be a depiction of the female genitalia on Staten Island.
Fans have been flocking to see Banksy’s daily installations. Most of the Banksy works that have gone up have been tagged over by others, and some have been completely erased.
While fans have been excited, some have expressed strong disapproval at Banksy’s graffiti tactics, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Graffiti does ruin people’s property and is a sign of decay and a loss of control,” Bloomberg said last week.
“Art is art, and nobody’s a bigger supporter of the arts than I am,” he added. “I just think there are some places for art, and there are some places (for) no art. And you running up to someone’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art.”
Banksy posts photos of his latest works each day on both his website and Instagram; fans have also been putting images on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
His website also includes a toll-free number and an online “Click here to listen” button with commentary on each image that spoofs the pre-recorded cellphone tours commonly offered at museum exhibits. The commentary mispronounces his name as Ban-sky and is read against a soundtrack of cheesy elevator music.
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