Banksy’s Upper West Side piece depicting “Hammer Boy,” now preserved with plexiglass. Image via Scott Christian for the Guardian
Almost exactly two years ago, we covered all 31 days of Banksy’s New York City residency “Better in Than Out.” In October 2013, Banksy took over New York City in a crazed hunt for new daily of street art, graffiti ad installations. A recent piece from the Guardian, however, brings less than surprising news to Banksy fans and street art aficionados: nearly none of the 31 Banksy pieces remain in their original state today.
This past September, a writer for the Guardian decided to see on how the art pieces were doing two years after the residency. He found that Hammer Boy on the Upper West Side remains intact due to a plexiglass cover and a Bushwick piece depicting geishas on a bridge has also been preserved through its roll-top gate (meaning pedestrians can’t actually see it).
Original work, photo via Banksy website
This gate now covers Banksy’s depiction of geishas on a footbridge. Image via Scott Christian for the Guardian
In addition, he discovered that Banksy’s Heart Balloon had been cut out of its position in Brooklyn to be sold (though not before attempts were made to deface it on the day it was revealed), that Banksy’s Chelsea image of a dog urinating on a fire hydrant (titled “You Complete Me”) has been graffitied over, and found a few other works painted over by building owners or the city. All the other pieces have been removed and auctioned off.
Image via BanksyNY
Banksy’s Heart Balloon piece was carved out of its location to be sold. Image via Scott Christian for the Guardian
Though New York City is a haven for street artists, their works of art are often short-lived. Thus, the writer from the Guardian points out that the public shouldn’t be surprised at the disappearance of the Banksy pieces, as the very nature of street art is “ephemeral,” with “its longevity dictated by an urban ecosystem that includes city officials, building owners and local street artists.”
Next, check out all 31 pieces of Banksy’s NYC residency Better Out Than In. Also, check out Banksy’s most recent project here. Get in touch with the author @sgeier97