Banksy (British, born c. 1974/1975) is one of the most well-known, if anonymous, street artists working today. Banksy, the pseudonym adopted by the artist, guards his privacy and the details of his life remain largely unknown to the public. He initially garnered fame for his graffiti, which combines spray paint and stencilling techniques with commercial, political, and contemporary imagery, infused with ironic social commentary and humour. His work first began appearing on walls in and around Bristol and London’s Shoreditch district during the mid-1990s, and he has since gone on to place images on the sides of corporate buildings, billboards, and the Israeli West Bank wall.
The unveiling of a new Banksy work often incorporates pranks or performance. For example, he secretly added his own pieces in museums like the Tate Modern in London or the Paris Louvre, smuggling them in under a coat and discreetly affixing them to a wall. He has also opened gallery shows to the public with specially-bred rats running around the space, and once inserted an inflatable doll dressed as a Guantanamo Bay prisoner into the Disneyland theme park in California.
In 2015, Banksy created a large-scale installation titled Dismaland Bemusement Park, an immersive and fully functional amusement park that featured political commentary on the distribution of wealth, sexism, and the UK government. The park, which operated from August to September of 2015, was funded by Banksy himself. In addition to his regular graffiti practice, Banksy creates works for several charities, and consistently opens exhibitions to wide audiences and critical acclaim. He lives and works in England.
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