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Art Inquisition: Can Art Quit the Gallery?

Secretive graffiti artist Banksy, whose recent stall setup in NYC garnered only $420 by selling original canvases at $60 each, has recently stated that he wanted to stop making “commercial” art. Despite the fact that he generally avoids galleries and other “traditional” venues, Banksy has seen great profits from the sale of pieces to celebrities.

Pointing out that “commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist. We’re not supposed to be embraced in that way,” he’s about halfway through a month’s stint in NYC, creating one piece of art each day in October. Calling the project “Better Out Than In,” a press release notes that it’s intended to “include “elaborate graffiti, large scale street sculpture, video installations, and substandard performance art.” There’s no show, no book, no nothing. Just art, without intention of profit or gain.

But is Banksy really in a unique position here? Or is he simply reached the comfort zone of a successful artist, where one can kick back and just create and try new things without concern for compensation? What do you think? Is it Capital-A Art without patrons or a gallery? Is a venue of some kind required in order to show your work? Is publicity a venue in and of itself? Can you “quit” something you’ve never really been a part of? Is Banksy’s work more guerrilla or more hype, or something else entirely?  Do you make art just to have it be seen? Would you tell us about it?

The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. It appears on Wednesdays at 3pm ET… Make with the comments!

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Beth Voigt

Beth Voigt

Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and public transit and is only on her second smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don't like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around.

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