Banksy Returns to the West Wall with a New Venture – Walled-Off Hotel


Less than two years since the massively successful resort venture Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare, Bristol, the notorious street artist/performance master Banksy opened a hotel venture today in one of the most contentious and dangerous part of the world in Bethlehem, just steps away from the West Bank wall. There wasn’t even a rumbling of this project on the Internet before today, so I was very surprised to see this news come out this morning. Named Walled-Off Hotel (sounds a lot like Waldorf, no?), it is a 10-room hotel managed and staffed by locals of the city and full of new works created by Banksy.

Reservation opens on March 11th, and guests will be able to stay in the rooms beginning March 20th. It is complete with a classic piano bar where music greats like Elton John and Massive Attack will be playing remotely through an automated piano, a gallery where Palestine artwork will be showcased, and a museum depicting the history of the West Bank in classic Banksy style.

The rooms themselves range from $30 for a bunk in the Budget room to $300 Presidential suite where you can feel like a sociopathic despot. Every room is furnished with interior decoration by Banksy, which seems like a logistic nightmare with entrepreneurial fans who might try their hand at acquiring a new Banksy work. To curb those efforts, there is a $1000 deposit for guests, although that seems like pennies when Banksy’s works sell for hundreds of thousands at auction. In addition, there is a check-out inspection to ensure no work has been defaced or taken from the room. I guess that should discourage foul-play. This is probably one of the few hotels in the world where you actually want to look at the art in the room.

Presidential suite via
Bunks in the Budget room via

Walled-Off Hotel is a quiet protest against the on-going political  and military Israel-Palestine conflict that are affecting the ordinary citizens, but also a gift to these very citizens that are suffering because of it.  I’m not going to pretend that I know much of what’s going on out there, but it’s not hard to imagine that thousands of new tourists will be coming by Bethlehem to pay pilgrimage to the hotel, which means a big boon for the local economy. According to the FAQ, Banksy is planning on keeping the hotel open for the year, but probably will be open as long as there are guests. I just hope the short attention span of today’s culture doesn’t let this establishment be forgotten too quick, leaving the local workers of this hotel jobless. This isn’t Banksy’s first time in the West Bank though, so clearly Israel-Palestine conflict is an issue that he cares deeply about.


The hotel piano bar, art gallery, and museum are open to non-guests, but you’ll have to be a paying guest if you want to visit a room. For those who cannot visit the hotel in person, it looks like a web shop called Wall-Mart (this sounds a lot like the retail giant Wal-Mart, no?) is going to open on March 20th. Based on what I’ve read, I’m not holding my breath for new Banksy prints, but I believe there will be at least Walled-Off Hotel themed paraphernalia.


I never thought that we’d ever call Banksy a hotelier.

Here are a few links for more information on this new hotel.

Official website for the Walled-Off Hotel

‘Worst view in the world’: Banksy opens hotel overlooking Bethlehem wall

See inside Banksy’s new Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem

LA Art Book Fair (LAABF) is this Weekend 2/23-26 @ Geffen Contemporary MOCA

LA Art Book Fair 2017

The 5th iteration of Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is this weekend at the Geffen of MOCA. Thursday, February 23, is the preview night, which is open to museum members for free and $10 for the public. From Friday to Sunday is free to the general public.

I was there last year, and it’s amazing to see so many people in the art communities come together in the huge museum floor. There are all kinds of zines, books, rare prints, and merch available for you to browse and purchase. It’s a great event for collectors, so if you’re in the area, definitely go visit.

Banksy Who?

Banksy in his film, Exit Through the Gift Shop
Banksy in his film, Exit Through the Gift Shop

Over the weekend, our street art microcosm felt a small quake when a blogger Craig Williams posted a conspiracy theory that outlines why he thinks Banksy is Massive Attack’s Robert “3D” Del Naja.  If you have a few minutes to kill, please give it a read because it’s a well-written article swelling with logic and evidence.  Frankly, as a blogger myself, I wish had written it.

If you don’t quite have the time to read Williams’ post, the gist of it is that there’s too many overlaps between Banksy’s mural appearances and Massive Attack’s global tour dates and projects.  Too many to be purely coincidental.  Of course, Del Naja denies that he is Banksy.

As Williams points out, it might be that Del Naja isn’t Banksy himself, but being that Banksy and Del Naja have publicly stated that they are close friends (Banksy cites 3D as an early influence from Bristol, Del Naja appears in Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop, 3D’s art prints are sold on which got its start as being Banksy’s print shop, and, most recently, Massive Attack was scheduled to play at Dismaland before pulling out due to “technical difficulties”), it is conceivable that Banksy and/or his crew toured with Massive Attack out of logistics and convenience.

Major kudos to Williams for taking the time to cross-reference Massive Attack’s tours and projects to the numerous murals and stunts that Banksy has done over the past two decades or so.  I can’t imagine how much time it took.

Having said all that, it is mildly humorous how some media outlets are thoroughly engrossed by the idea that Banksy’s identity is finally revealed.  We had gone through this a few years ago when the media was sure that Banksy was this Joe Regular by the name of Robin Gunningham.  It didn’t really matter who Banksy was then, and it still doesn’t matter who Banksy is now.

In the social media era of foregone privacy and obsession in the personal lives of others, celebrity or not, it is natural for media outlets to react in such a way, but should the art community care who Banksy is?  I don’t like to meet artists whose art I enjoy, because I want to separate the person that the artist is and the message and visuals that the artist portrays.  The two should be mutually exclusive, and that allows the art to transcend physical into the visceral.

If you ask me, I’m still going to imagine Banksy looks like this.


Martha Cooper and Ernest Zacharevic Talk in Long Beach, CA


As part of Pow!Wow! Long Beach event series for 2016, the legendary New York street photographer Martha Cooper and the playful street artist Ernest Zacharevic are having a talk at the Art Theatre of Long Beach on July 12th. This is a rare chance hear insights from a veteran like Martha Cooper who’s run the streets with the likes of Keith Haring and Futura in the heydays.

I already bought my ticket to the show, so see you guys there!

Here the link to get your own tickets, and it’s only $5: Talk with Martha Cooper and Ernest Zacharevic


Hanksy’s “Surplus Candy” Invaded Los Angeles


This post is a little late, but you know what they say, “Better late than never.”

Hanksy (@hanksynyc) is an anonymous street artist born to Internet fame through his humorously infectious wheatpasted posters found on decrepit walls, mostly in New York City, that poke fun at American popular culture.  His type of humor is the kind that is so stupid that it’s funny, and I’m not saying that maliciously.  You’d agree with me after seeing pieces from Hanksy like “Kanye Brest” and “Dope Francis”.  Even the moniker that he chose, “Hanksy”, is obviously a hijacking from the most famous street artist of our time, Banksy.  You can often find Tom Hanks’s grinning wheatpasted face nearby Hanksy’s tags, if you’re wondering about the other popular culture reference.

You know how I’ve been bemoaning the death of street art?  Well, Hanksy might have heard my complaints because he put on a rather noble endeavor in Los Angeles a little over a week ago in an abandoned mansion that should give street art fans some hope.  He invited 50+ artists to this mansion to paint and takeover almost every inch of the place, leaving behind a visual anarchy of graffiti, murals, installations, and performance art.  Some recognizable names in the US scene and abroad, like Craola (@craola), Morley (@official_morley), Skid One (@skidonedms), Mear One (@mear_one), Fanakapan (@fanakapan), etc came to destroy these walls.  There was no sponsor, no entry fee, and certainly no commercial efforts to sell wares.  Artists had worked in the mansion for weeks, but it was viewable to the public for only one day, October 10th from 6pm to 10pm.  There was even an after-party at the neighboring rundown house, which anyone could attend after contributing a small donation at the door.

Ephemerality?  Check.  Raw, dirty, and disorderly?  Check.  Graffiti and murals?  Check and check.  We got ourselves a proper street art party, boys.

I am still a little torn about how I feel about this show.  It’s nearly captured the rebellious, DIY, ephemeral essence of street art, but what makes street art different from all other art is that it is publicly persecuted and it is this persecution that drives the creativity and relevance of the genre, which a legal show cannot ever hope to achieve.  Let’s take for example Iranian street art and the fatal persecution that these street artists face for their art.  If you take out the context of personal risk and political struggle, then their images lose all power and are nothing but silly little stenciled pictures on walls.  However, once the context is restored, the images are suddenly imbued with power and potency.  However, that is not to say sanctioned shows like Hanksy’s don’t have their own utility in the sphere.  Perhaps it could be a gateway for attendees to research said contexts.

Well, I’ll get off my soapbox now.  Check out the pictures from the show and decide for yourself how shows like this fit into the current state of street art.  Let us know what you think in the comments.

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“Covert to Overt”- Shepard Fairey in Conversation with Moby


Shepard Fairey (@obeygiant) is how I became an art collector, which in turn is why this blog exists today.  I bring this up because I finally got to meet the artist and attend his talk last night at the New Roads School in Santa Monica with Moby interviewing him to coincide with the book release, Covert to Overt: The Under/Overground Art of Shepard Fairey.  The talk spanned a wide range of topics, from his childhood and punk rock to some controversial thoughts on street art and politics.  My highlight from the talk was when he showed off his Jersey (read: Joisey) accent impersonation for a large part of the Q&A session.

Read on for a rapid fire of the most interesting bits from the talk.

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Banksy’s Dismaland News (using a new blogging platform, Pressimus)


Yesterday, I serendipitously ran into an exciting and emerging “social live-publishing/story-telling/live-blogging” platform that I think will solve the most important problem that all bloggers are trying to overcome: to push out as many quality posts as you can, as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  The solution may be Pressimus.  Below is an example of a Pressimus press (that’s what these micro-blog posts are called in the world of Pressimus) that I wrote in less than 5 minutes using the simple drag and drop tools, as well as its super useful functionality to search any social media directly in the platform.  That’s how I found every single video, articles, and Instagram pictures in the press below.  You can also easily embed the press into your own blog by simply copying and pasting a short line of code into the text of a regular post.

Please check it out and tell us what you think, especially if you’re a blogger yourself.




Art Openings in Los Angeles, Sept. 11th Weekend

Aaron Horkey, Esao Andrews, and Joao Ruas @ Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City
Aaron Horkey, Esao Andrews, and Joao Ruas @ Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City

There’s a quite a few exciting show openings in Los Angeles next weekend.  BDAB will be in attendance for at least a couple of these, so drop me a line in the comments if you’re going too.

Gilded Age @ Thinkspace Gallery.  Saturday, September 12th, 6-9pm

6009 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232

Andrew Horkey, Esao Andrews, Joao Ruas

Don’t call it a group show.  It is a three-man exhibition between Aaron Horkey (@aaronhorkey), Esao Andrews (@esao), and Joao Ruas (@feral_kid).  The idea for this show first came about back in 2012 when Thinkspace Gallery’s head honcho Andrew Hosner (@thinkspace_art) casually asked Andrew Horkey about his ideal three-man show, to which Horkey quickly named off Esao and Joao.  Each of these artists have been heavily promoting the show with teasers of works-in-progress and it’s looks like it’ll easily be the show of the year in Los Angeles.  Be sure to sign up for Thinkspace’s email list or follow them on social media for more information.


Mad Props Street Cred @ New Image Art. Friday, September 11th, 7-10pm

7920 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046

Anthony Lister

This is the first solo exhibition in United States since 2012 of the self-proclaimed “adventure painter” Anthony Lister (@anthonylister).  The Australian street artist has been busy on the streets of LA in the last week hitting up walls to promote the show.  New Image Art (@newimageart) knows how to throw a party, so it should be a good show to attend if you’re not doing much this Friday.  Even if you are, this will probably be better, so go to the show anyways.


Trapezoid @ KP Projects/Merry Karnowsky Gallery.  Saturday, September 12th, 7-10pm

170 S La Brea Ave Los Angeles, CA

Mark Whalen

Mark Whalen (@mark_whalen) is another Australian artist showing in Los Angeles next weekend.  Merry Karnowsky (@kpprojectsmkg) has been kind to the BDAB collection in the last few years, although they probably don’t even know it.  From the looks of it, Mark is preparing a large installation, much akin to the large scale outdoor work he’s done in the past.


It’s going to be a fun weekend.  See you guys at the shows!


News Roundup of Banksy’s Dismaland

Photo Credit: Juxtapoz Magazine
Photo Credit: Juxtapoz Magazine

Best Damn Art Blog has scoured the Internet to bring you the latest news and updates from Banksy’s Dismaland.  Check it out!


  • A look at Dismaland from Britain’s Channel 4 News

  • New York Times covers Dismaland.
  • Juxtapoz will have an exclusive interview with Banksy in the next issue of the magazine, an exerpt of which is posted in the link, but they have also posted a preview of the show itself here.
  • Andrew Plant of BBC attends Dismaland and gives us another look at the show.
  • According to Dismaland’s spokeswoman, there were over 6 million hits on the website by Friday’s ticket sales.  It seems many were unable to secure a ticket from today’s anticipated ticket release from the website.
  • But some people did get it.


Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Landov
Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Landov

Check back with BDAB frequently as we continue to follow this unexpected new show from Banksy.

Dismaland will be open daily from 11am—11pm, August 22—September 27, 2015 (certain Saturdays will be open until 1am) in Weston-super-Mare, England. For more information, visit

BREAKING NEWS: Banksy’s Dismaland Confirmed


There have been murmurs for the past couple of weeks that a new Banksy show may be abound, but today it has been confirmed that it is happening in Weston-super-Mare, August 22-September 27, 2015.  Located on the Bristol Channel Coast of Somerset, England, Weston-super-Mare is, or was, a popular tourist destination with a population that is largely 65 or older.  Weston-super-Mare is also the title of a Banksy print from 2003, image of which is found below.

weston super mare

According to the website, you can expect to see work from many artists from all over the world, not just Banksy, including Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Paul Insect, Bast, Espo, and even Damien Hirst.  Tickets for guaranteed entry to the “amusement park” will be available starting Friday, London time, for only £3.  You can bet your dollar that I will be F5’ing all day to get my ticket. site2



Visit Dismaland’s website [here] for more information.