Anyone hooping for a Banksy expose will be disappointed. The enigmatic British street artist’s identity is a closely guarded secret. What is revealed is his capacity for publicity generating mischief.
The movie documents Banksy’s 31 day New York City art installation. Every day for the month of October 2013 a new piece of art—ranging from graffiti style murals, to sculptures to living installations—would appear somewhere in the five boroughs. Some pieces were preserved, some stolen, others never meant to last, but each new artwork inspired a legion of fans to find and photograph the work.
The film, made independently of Banksy, does a good job of showcasing the art in its natural habitat, the street, but provides little insight into why the work has garnered so much attention or how the artists feels about people stealing his public art for private gain.
Instead it asks questions about the importance of public art to a city. Is Banksy’s work meant simply to decorate the city or can it forge identities and comment on social issues? No direct answers are provided, but how could there be? There are as many reactions to pieces of art as there are pieces of art but maybe that is Banksy’s point after all—there are no answers, just ideas.