The Man Behind the Wall
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|Format:||Hardback, 320 pages|
|Other Information: ||black & white illustrations|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 01 May 2012|
For someone who shuns the limelight so completely that he conceals his name, never shows his face and gives interviews only by email, Banksy is remarkably famous. From his beginnings as a Bristol graffiti artist, his artwork is now sold at auction for six-figure sums and hangs on celebrities' walls. The appearance of a new Banksy is national news, his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop was Oscar-nominated and people queue for hours to see his latest exhibition. Now more National Treasure than edgy outsider, who is Banksy and how did he become what he is today? In the first attempt to tell the full story of Banksy's life and career, Will Ellsworth-Jones pieces together a picture of his world and unpicks its contradictions. Whether art or vandalism, anti-establishment or sell-out, Banksy and his work have become a cultural phenomenon and the question 'Who is Banksy?' is as much about his career as it is 'the man behind the wall'. 'Britain's unlikeliest national treasure' Independent 'A fascinating portrait that elicits admiration for a man who, despite his increasingly unconvincing efforts to retain some shred of his vandal status, has had an undeniable impact on art' The Times
About the Author
WILL ELLSWORTH-JONES was chief reporter and then New York correspondent for the Sunday Times as well as holding senior editorial positions at the Telegraph Magazine, The Independent Magazine and Saga Magazine. His previous book for Aurum was a history of conscientious objectors in the First World War, We Will Not Fight. He lives in London.
'This is a fascinating portrait that elicits admiration for a man who, despite his increasingly unconvincing efforts to retain some shreds of his vandal status, has had an undeniable impact on art' The Times 'Ellsworth-Jones casts a detailed and enthusiastic eye over all aspects of Banksy's career, from the Bristol graffiti scene where he first experimented in the 1980's, through the development of Banksy's trademark stencilled style, to his growing audacity and success and the controlling and sophisticated publicity and business machine of today' Evening Standard 'A fascinating history of a wholly likeable art phenomenon' The Sunday Times 'Ellsworth-Jones writes perceptively about the "ethical dilemmas" created by Banksy's marketing techniques, yet still communicates the excitement of a "treasure hunt" for traces of his work in the scruffier purlieus of London' Observer 'A credible and intelligent portrait of a unique artist, reluctant capitalist and control freak struggling to preserve his own myth and maintain his outsider status' Independent on Sunday 'Britain's unlikeliest national treasure' -- Simon Usborne Independent 'a relentless following of the money, and the exploration of the tortured interface between art and commerce' Guardian 'An admirer yet also an accomplished investigative reporter, [Will Ellsworth-Jones] casts a detailed and enthusiastic eye over all aspects of Banksy's career' Scotsman 'don't miss!' Country & Town House "Not an unmasking but an investigative look at the street's extraordinary rise from Bristol graffitist to lucrative 'national treasure' - and all the contradictions that entails" -- Holly Kyte Seven, Sunday Telegraph 'a joy to read' The Independent
It's perfectly true that, as subversive street artist Banksy has said, "Art comes alive in the arguments you have about it." Journalist Ellsworth-Jones (We Will Not Fight) chronicles the Banksy phenomenon from the streets to the upscale auction houses, while exploring the lively issues that Banksy has raised since becoming a novelty in the art market, one who now leads a fairly lucrative operation cloaked in secrecy. Bound to fuel more "sell-out" criticism, Ellsworth-Jones's vivid portrait shows Banksy attempting to hold on to the spirit of the graffiti subculture while simultaneously forsaking it. Banksy once deplored galleries as "'trophy cabinets for a handful of millionaires,'" though he is now one of the "trophies." His anonymity has added to his intrigue and become a "marketing tool," according to Banksy's friend and peer Shepard Fairey. Paradoxically, Banksy has used lawyers and contracts like a "control-freak." (Banksy prevented one of Ellsworth-Jones's interviews with another graffiti artist, and through his authentication agency demanded the book be marked "unofficial"). Nevertheless, Ellsworth-Jones clearly respects Banksy's art, and celebrates how the artist ushered the masses out of "the wilderness" and "into the art world." (Some, however, will disagree with his claim that without Banksy "there would be not be a street art market.") Whether a Banksy follower or not, a reader will find this excellent contemporary art story speaks volumes about celebrity. Agent: Melissa Chinchillo, Fletcher and Co. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
British journalist Ellsworth-Jones (We Will Not Fight...) here profiles the elusive Banksy, a street artist who fiercely defends what's left of his anonymity and credentials as an outsider. Ellsworth-Jones does a superb job of threading his way through the fascinating world of street and outsider art, asking all the important questions that arise when the art world, social commentary, questions of what is public vs. private, and-most important-commerce, collide. What does it tell us about the state of the art world when a self-proclaimed vandal and prankster who became famous for stenciling on public walls and surreptitiously adding his own work to famous museums, suddenly commands six figures for his work, produces an Oscar-nominated documentary about an eccentric camera buff (who originally claimed to be making a documentary about him), and needs a sophisticated organization to protect and provide authentication for pieces previously regarded as defacement of public property? Banksy's work is competent, clever, thought-provoking, and accessible. VERDICT A fluent, enjoyable discussion of an important contemporary cultural phenomenon; this book will appeal especially to readers who are fans of Banksy's work and is an essential title for devotees of pop culture and outsider art.-Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
|Publisher: ||Aurum Press Ltd|
|Dimensions: ||23.0 x 15.0 centimeters (0.63 kg)|