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Keepin' It Real: Banksy x Danger Mouse

Been doing a lot of vinyl shopping lately. One of my recent cops was this pair of limited edition 12” (pictured above and after the jump) with cover art by none other than Banksy himself. Only 1,000 copies were made and it comes in 4 colorways (beige, green, gold, and silver). Unfortunately I could only get my hands on a gold and a silver but I can’t complain cause this is the cheapest possible way to own a limited edition Banksy.

Production credit goes to “DJDM” who is most likely Danger Mouse (DJ Shadow is rumored to have had a hand in this project as well but that is less certain). Banksy and Danger Mouse have collaborated multiple times before including the now (in)famous Paris is Burning stunt from 2006 when they doctored hundreds of copies of Paris Hilton’s album and snuck them into UK record stores to be bought by unsuspecting Paris fans (don’t feel too bad for them… a handful of the ~500 copies sold on ebay for a few hundred bucks).

So I know a lot of people think Banksy is a sellout but that’s an unfair label, imho. Yes, he’s a bonafied superstar whose works are now fetching 6-figures at art auctions. Yes, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt own a couple pieces. A lot of people in the street art community are uncomfortable with this kind of popularity and are wary of the artform becoming overly commercialized and exploited (like breakdancing in the 80s). In my opinion, that’s all part of the point! So-called “urban art” has always struggled with legitimacy in the high art world. Aside from Basquiat, few graffiti artists have really been embraced by the “experts”. Highlighting this point is the 2005 Banksy stunt which involved Banksy putting on a fake beard, sneaking into a bunch of NYC museums, and hanging up his works (complete w/ placards) next to “legitimate” pieces.

In my opinion, this was a big “f*ck you” to curators and art historians who refused to accept street art as a legitimate form. To me, this stunt was basically Banksy saying, “F*ck the conventional channels of getting art exhibited. This sh*t is art whether a curator says so or not!”

Some would argue that now that Banksy finally IS getting attention from the elite, he can no longer be considered a street artist. It’s a good point. In fact, when I went to his “Barely Legal” warehouse show in 2006, I did get the feeling that his works sort of lost their context by being presented legally on canvas and arranged on walls as opposed to being out in the wild, illegally painted on buildings and billboards where anyone can view them. Call it urban site-specificity.

Can a piece only be considered street art if it’s out on the streets? Is the point of street art NOT to be accepted by the elite? Is it Banksy’s point that this SHOULDN’T be the point? Or am I just missing the point completely? Who knows.

That said, Banksy has undoubtedly brought street art to a very broad audience and has forced people to at least consider it as a legitimate artform. Though I understand the reasons for the backlash, I think it’s unfair to turn on him just because Urban Outfitters is selling his book. Dude is a living legend. His influence (and arguably Blek’s) is apparent in a whole generation of artists’ work.

But I digress… Here’s a snippet of the aforementioned Danger Mouse. Though it’s a nasty beat (and with all due respect to the Mouse)… this purchase was all about the album art.

MP3: DJDM - Keep It Real/Laugh Now - Track 1 (snippet)
(holler if you want the full track)


dee said...

i want the full track... hook a sistah up.

dee said...

btw, nice post. i read a similar post today about hip hop music...

there's definitely a fine line here. street/urban art has always been a form of resistance and empowerment... a way of reclaiming space and thus (i think) has always struggled with legitimacy and hasn't been embraced by "experts." however in this case, once Banksy's barely legal show was publicized ( as a "three day vandalised warehouse extravaganza") and his art legally laid out for the world to see, i think it did lose a lot of its meaning (what exactly is he resisting/reclaiming here?).

i'm not saying a piece can only be street art if it's on the street, but if you're painting on elephants in a packed LA warehouse exhibit, i think it does get a little questionable (even if his political points were on target).

Anonymous said...

and ofcourse you guys should pick up WALL AND PIECE (
i promised myself that id pick this book up.. but i keep sleeping on it... i swear i picked this book up like 1000 times in urban outfitters. (not that im at urbans alot :( )

Anonymous said...

could you hook us at solesides up with the mp3 of this? even we have a hard time getting it.

email info can be found on the site.
Much thanks

ronnie said...

Hook up the full track!!!

Anonymous said...

how can i get the full track?

Ronnie said...

Dam, are you guys ever going to post up the whole track? Fingers crossed!!!!

mike said...

my bad kids... i been MIA lately... doubt you even need the track anymore but i'll come with it some time in the next couple of days. it's on vinyl and i don't have a set-up readily available at the time being.

u9lift said...

yo yo yo yo
that shiznit is heat...
can I gets a copy

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to ask you how much you spent for each of those records. I was thinking of buying one online but there are so few resources for me to check and I'm afraid of getting ripped off. Please help.