Banksy's Olympics


Here's the latest from Banksy, as confirmed from his personal website. Oh, the irony in this image. It says so much, and yet, there is so much left to question. At the start of the Olympics, when the world turns its eyes towards London, and the great athletes of our time, Banksy, the underground artist, speaks out, subtly and profoundly.  

Is that 1468 on the jersey? Does it demarcate the death of Gutenberg? Does it represent, as 1468 did, a leap year? What's at work in this exclamation? Why is it in black and white? In some respects, one may wonder why we don't see a major corporate sponsor, like McDonalds, emblazoned on his chest.

With this intervention, is Banksy highlighting the judicial nature of the allowing of an "Olympic Defense System", in which concrete high-rises were turned in to battle stations, equipped with high-velocity surface to air missiles? Or is he, instead, parodying the nature of the Jesse Owens style triumph of politics?


In a way, the image is reminiscent of Banksy's famous Lascaux piece, which depicts a street cleaner, cleaning up the "graffiti" after "vandals" had desecrated the concrete. Imagine the unnatural erosion of those artistically captivating cave paintings.

There's always so much at work, in the work of Banksy. Perhaps better than anyone, Banksy has managed to capture, not only our imaginations, but the pulse of the times, with his artistic commercialization of politics. 


When asked, "What do you say to people who claim the way you express yourself is crass, dumb and simplistic?" Banksy responds, "Well, duh. They're right of course. Most of this stuff is designed to be viewed from a moving vehicle."