On Banksy’s Fall 2013 Residency in New York

Banksy NYC residency (photo by Luna Park)
Documenting the documenters during Banksy’s NYC residency (photo by Luna Park)

It’s been just a little over a year since the world’s most high profile street artist, Banksy, manifested Better Out Than In, his October 2013 show in New York. His residency proved to be a runaway sensation, achieving an unprecedented media saturation by enthralling legions of increasingly rabid fans with a calculated, daily presentation of new pieces citywide. In all my years of documenting street art in New York, I’d never experienced anything quite like this residency. The month-long spectacle rolled out largely via social media, with seasoned documenters and newbie, self-proclaimed Banksy hunters alike sharing their experiences each day in a frenzied race against the clock and against the myriad forces that conspired to cut each piece’s longevity short. For those in the know, the #banksyny hashtag became the mainline for the daily Banksy infusion. And as documentation from each daily scene showed, many New Yorkers got hooked… on the art as well as the ensuing sideshow.

Banksy NYC residency (photo by Luna Park)
Banksy NYC residency (photo by Luna Park)
Banksy NYC residency (photo by Luna Park)
Banksy NYC residency (photo by Luna Park)

Via his well-respected Carnage imprint, fellow street photographer and long-time Banksy fan, Ray Mock, recently published Banksy in New York, an account of the residency from the point of view of a quintessential graffiti insider. I can’t recommend this volume enough.

Banksy NYC residency (photo by Luna Park)
Banksy NYC residency (photo by Luna Park)

And this past Friday, on the one year anniversary of the close of the residency, filmmaker Chris Mourkabel’s documentary Banksy Does New York was released on HBOGo, with the premiere, cable TV broadcast on HBO scheduled for Monday, November 17th at 9pm EST. The bulk of the footage for the film was crowd-sourced, allowing for multiple, unique perspectives on the residency as it unfolded. I’m honored to have been interviewed for the film alongside Jaime Rojo & Steve Harrington of Brooklyn Street Art, RJ Rushmore & Caroline Caldwell of Vandalog, Hrag Vartanian of Hyperallergic and others. You can watch a short trailer below:

Toynbee Tile Lecture in Brooklyn

Toynbee tile in New York City (photo by Luna Park)

Ever since living in Philadelphia for a couple years in the mid 1990s, I’ve been intrigued by Toynbee tiles. What did these strange vinyl tiles in the middle of Center City intersections mean?? Philadelphia artist and musician Justin Duerr researched the tiles for the 2011 award-winning documentary, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. Duerr will give a free, half hour lecture and slide show on the mysterious tiles as part of Pete’s Candy Store’s Open City Dialogue series in Brooklyn tomorrow at 7:30pm. Very much looking forward to hearing more about Toynbee tiles!

Tile remnant in Philadelphia (photo by Luna Park)

January 9, 2012 – 7:30pm
NOTES FROM JUPITER: Decoding the Toynbee Tiles w/Justin Duerr
Pete’s Candy Store
709 Lorimer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211