Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Guardian whitewashing of Banksy

The Guardian's in-house art critic, Jonathan Jones, has written a scurrilous little denunciation of Banksy after a mural of spooks doing their darkest on a public phone box appeared on the side of a house near GCHQ. Jones writes:  
'I think it probably is a Banksy. Not only is it stencilled in his crudely efficient style but its glib satire is typical of his instinct for trendy political content to impress his bourgeois public. Homing in – rather late in the day – on a widely discussed issue, Banksy addresses, not the teenagers who used to be graffiti's users, but – if I may – Guardian readers. Yes, he's a good liberal, is Banksy, drawing attention in his own way to the contemporary menace of excessive state surveillance.'
Don't you just love the unintended irony of Jones himself, a safe Guardian liberal, posing all
'subversive' by having a dig at other Guardian-reading liberals and their 'bourgeois' coveting of street art?

And with it, the 'inverted' implication of Banksy's own 'faux-liberal politics' in making this strategically-placed statement about menacing state surveillance. 

Last week saw Jones in much more familiar liberal garb, proclaiming: Let's hit Putin where it hurts – all artists must boycott Russia. To further invert: yes, he's a good liberal, is Jones, drawing attention in his own Guardian way to the contemporary 'menace' of selective foreign enemies.

While much of Banksy's art may now be 'coffee-tabled' and commodified, his truly-populist images still inhabit real public spaces with real iconic messages, from the side of a Cheltenham house to Israel's apartheid wall.

How, in stark contrast, does Jonathan Jones's smug art critique and pretence Guardian 'subversion'  inform any such radical agenda?

Jones concludes with this pompous assertion on Banksy's work:
'If he painted on the side of my house I'd be busy with the whitewash next morning.'
There's certainly no shortage of that particular paint at the Guardian.

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