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Banksy Museum opens in NYC to bring elusive work to fans: ‘If people can’t see it, is it even art?’

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since been whitewashed or dismantled. “Little of Banksy’s works are visible to the public at large. Most have been stolen for resale, inadvertently destroyed or erased by overzealous city cleaning teams,” museum founder Hazis Vardar said in a statement. “Most of this transient art could only be viewed on tiny smartphone screens, which is no way to experience the scale or emotion of Banksy’s work,” Vardar continued. “So we knew that we needed to create an exhibition that would bring Banksy’s art back before the public.”To do so, the team employed a team of anonymous street artists to “recreate the work” in a “magnificent reflection of Banksy’s energy, defiance and raw talent.” The curators, conscious of Banksy’s style and guerilla approach, opted for recreations of the art’s original presentations over putting them in, say, ornate gilt frames as a way to preserve the pieces’ inherent intentions.

The museum directors hope the installments prompt visitors to feel as if they’ve spotted the elusive illustrations — which often critique political themes with depictions of rats, apes, policemen and children — while roaming the winding concrete streets of New York, Paris or London; one section of the exhibit even includes a red telephone booth that evokes a British setting. “Street art belongs in the raw setting of the streets,” Vardar said in explaining the sentiment behind the museum. “But if people can’t see it, is it even art?” Bansky has become the world’s most celebrated guerrilla street artist by secretly — and sometimes illegally — installing his art in public spaces around the world and also pulling legendary stunts.

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