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Banksy' street art irritates NYC mayor, but police not looking for him

By Ivan Watson and Elizabeth Landers, CNN
updated 2:41 PM EDT, Thu October 24, 2013
The latest artwork from graffiti artist Banksy appears on black wooden board at a youth center in Bristol, England, on Wednesday, April 16. Called "<a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/16/world/europe/uk-art-banksy-removed/index.html'>Mobile Lovers</a>," it features a couple embracing while checking their cell phones. Members of the youth center took down the piece from a wall on a Bristol street and replaced it with a note saying the work was being held at the club "to prevent vandalism or damage being done." The discovery came shortly after another image believed to be by Banksy surfaced in Cheltenham, England. The latest artwork from graffiti artist Banksy appears on black wooden board at a youth center in Bristol, England, on Wednesday, April 16. Called "Mobile Lovers," it features a couple embracing while checking their cell phones. Members of the youth center took down the piece from a wall on a Bristol street and replaced it with a note saying the work was being held at the club "to prevent vandalism or damage being done." The discovery came shortly after another image believed to be by Banksy surfaced in Cheltenham, England.
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Photos: Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
Photos: Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy, the elusive street artist
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The street and graffiti artist known as Banksy has been active in New York City
  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls graffiti "a sign of decay and loss of control"
  • But police say they are not actively looking for Banksy

New York (CNN) -- The New York Police Department denies it is actively searching for the mysterious street and graffiti artist known as Banksy, according to a spokeswoman. Yet, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested Banksy is breaking the law with his guerrilla art exhibits.

Annette Markowski, an NYPD public information officer, told CNN police have not launched an investigation of Banksy because they have not received any complaints of vandalism related to the artist.

Every day this month, Banksy has been unveiling new works of art around New York. The works are then announced on his website. Some of the surprise exhibits are stencils spray-painted on streets and walls of buildings. Others have included whimsical mobile displays transported on trucks, an animated YouTube video and, on Wednesday, a performance art piece involving a dirt-smeared boy shining the shoes of a life-sized statue of Ronald McDonald outside one of the fast-food chains franchises.

Big-ticket graffiti artist Banksy says he offered paintings for $60 in Central Park

"Graffiti does ruin people's property and is a sign of decay and loss of control," Bloomberg said at a press conference Wednesday, when asked by journalists about Banksy's street art.

"Running up to somebody's property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art but it should not be permitted. I think that's exactly what the law says," Bloomberg continued.

He said the city's Department of Cultural Affairs would look into the matter.

On Thursday, the unidentified artist published a photo on his website of the front page of the New York Post with the headline "Get Banksy! NYPD hunts artist."

"I don't read what I believe in the papers," the artist wrote in a caption below the photo.

Could the next Banksy come from Dubai?

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