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When it comes to art, London is best known for its galleries, not its graffiti. However, not if photographer Martin Bull has anything to say about it. While newspapers and magazines the world over send their critics to review the latest Damien Hirst show at the Tate Modern, Bull, in turn, is out taking photos of the latest street installations by guerilla art icon Banksy. In three guided tours, Martin Bull documents sixty-five London sites where one can see some of the most important works by the legendary political artist. Boasting over 100 color photos, Banksy: Locations and Tours also includes graffiti by many of Banksy's peers, including Eine, Faile, El Chivo, Arofish, Cept, Space Invader, Blek Le Rat, D*face, and Shepherd Fairey. This edition has updated locations and 25 additional photos.
Published: PM Press an imprint of Independent Publishers Group on Feb 1, 2009
ISBN: 9781604862386
List price: $16.00
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Martin Bull’s Banksy: Locations & Tours is really a walking tour of some of the more important sites ornamented by London grafitti artist, Banksy. It’s a small book with postcard-sized images of Banksy’s works – bling rats, coke-snorting cops and kidnapping cash machines – accompanied by brief descriptions of the site and the work’s history. Unfortunately, as Bull admits, much and maybe even most of this work will be gone – painted over or pressure-blasted – by the time any of his readers have a chance to swing by Shoreditch or Clerkenwell with guide in hand. From this starting point of ephemerality, one could imagine the city as a giant palimpsest of temporary signs and images, or perhaps debate the pros and cons of keeping or enshrining any of these works (what does it mean when “subversive” street art is adopted by the cultural mainstream?), but Bull doesn’t. Not wanting to “intellectualize” Banksy’s street art, he limits his text to directions and status reports. Herein lies the book’s failure because what it doesn’t provide the reader is any kind of rationale for undertaking its mapped-out tours. I think there are plenty of reasons, but Bull expects them to be self-evident. If you’re interested in street art and don’t want to spend the cash on Wall and Piece, buy this book for the pictures. Otherwise, just skip it.read more
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Martin Bull’s Banksy: Locations & Tours is really a walking tour of some of the more important sites ornamented by London grafitti artist, Banksy. It’s a small book with postcard-sized images of Banksy’s works – bling rats, coke-snorting cops and kidnapping cash machines – accompanied by brief descriptions of the site and the work’s history. Unfortunately, as Bull admits, much and maybe even most of this work will be gone – painted over or pressure-blasted – by the time any of his readers have a chance to swing by Shoreditch or Clerkenwell with guide in hand. From this starting point of ephemerality, one could imagine the city as a giant palimpsest of temporary signs and images, or perhaps debate the pros and cons of keeping or enshrining any of these works (what does it mean when “subversive” street art is adopted by the cultural mainstream?), but Bull doesn’t. Not wanting to “intellectualize” Banksy’s street art, he limits his text to directions and status reports. Herein lies the book’s failure because what it doesn’t provide the reader is any kind of rationale for undertaking its mapped-out tours. I think there are plenty of reasons, but Bull expects them to be self-evident. If you’re interested in street art and don’t want to spend the cash on Wall and Piece, buy this book for the pictures. Otherwise, just skip it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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