Banksy’s NYC street art: Trashed or very quickly treasured

Story highlights

Two dozen Banksy originals dot New York City

Many of the exhibits follow his signature street-art style

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has criticized his works

New York CNN  — 

The 24th piece in Banksy’s monthlong street art residency in New York City is in the Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, on the garage door of Larry Flynt’s infamous strip joint: The Hustler Club.

The famously anonymous British graffiti artist stenciled a man holding a bouquet of flowers.

INTERACTIVE: Explore Banksy in New York

“Waiting in vain… at the door of the club,” reads the text accompanying photos of the stencil posted on Banksy’s website.

Every day this month, Banksy has been unveiling new works of art around New York. The works are then announced on his website and posted to Instagram. Many of the surprise exhibits follow his signature street-art style: stencils spray-painted on streets, walls of buildings and under bridges.

Others include an animated YouTube video showing what appears to be footage of jihadist militants shooting down an animated Dumbo the Elephant and traveling installations, including a slaughterhouse delivery truck full of stuffed animals touring the city. Also produced are performance art pieces such as a dirt-smeared boy shining the shoes of a life-sized statue of Ronald McDonald.

Many of Banksy’s pieces in The Big Apple don’t last long after they are located, either defaced by local graffiti artists who don’t like an outsider on their turf, or relocated and preserved to be sold to galleries and collectors by whomever owns the property Banksy happened to choose as his canvas.

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On Tuesday, Banksy created a 1/36 scale replica of the Great Sphinx of Giza made from smashed cinder blocks. A video posted to YouTube shows a team of men loading it into a truck, and the New York Post reported the owner of a nearby business moved the sculpture in response to a top-dollar bid to purchase the piece.

Fans of the mysterious graffiti artist worried for him Wednesday, when a sign posted on his website reading only, “Today’s art has been canceled due to police activity.”

Banksy didn’t explain. NYPD Detective Marc Nell told CNN that police were made aware of the artist’s statement when people called to ask about it, but they don’t know to what he was referring.

The week before, 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.

Banksy’s reputation was made on the streets of London, and he seems to have made his art all over – from New Orleans on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to the West Bank.

But until the end of the month, the politically charged, controversial graffiti artist is expected to remain in New York City.

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