The Banksy buzz has been building around Boston since the subversive street artist’s film "Exit through the Gift Shop" opened at Cambridge’s Kendall Square Cinema in late April, but over the last few days the hype has reached new heights, and with good reason.
Finally, Boston has been blessed with some Banksy of its own. On a wall adjacent an Essex Street parking lot at the border of Chinatown in downtown Boston and on another Essex Street over the Charles in Cambridge on the side of a Super Cuts building, graffiti has surfaced that is widely believed to be the work of the ever-elusive guerrilla artist himself.
The works resemble traditional Banksy pieces in terms of style, satire, and social commentary, but no one can ever really be sure what’s authentic and what’s imitation. However, most of the people I talked to today seemed convinced that these were legitimate. And I am on board with the believers. Even if they really are the work of the anonymous artist, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he was the one who actually put them up; it’s well known that Banksy has a team and isn’t solely responsible for everything that goes up in his name. Still, I’d like to think the illustrious Banksy, himself, was crawling the streets of Boston at ungodly hours, hooded with cans in hand, searching for the perfect places to play his pranks.
This Boston resident is happy that Banksy has left his mark here, but we’ll have to wait and see how other citizens respondâ€”namely the owners of the buildings he tagged. I will say, though, that when I went to both sites today, there were small crowds at each taking pictures and discussing the work; build on Banksy buzz, build on.
To read more about Banksy, check out this issue’s feature, "Banksy: A Postmodern Pioneer."
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