Better in than out? I think Banksy would disagree.


Better In than Out, an obvious parody of Banksy’s outdoor New York City residency titled Better Out than In that took place around the city of New York back in October, 2013, is not a show that is in any way affiliated with the notorious street artist Banksy.  Let me reiterate that.

Banksy did not provide the artwork for this show, he did not create any new work for the purpose of showing it at Taglialatella Gallery, nor did he ever set foot in the gallery.  This is a gallery that specializes in the secondary market, meaning they take on consignments or buy artworks from private collections to sell at a huge markup.  Banksy has never done a show of this nature nor will he ever do so.  The recent “bemusement park” Dismaland, a totally off-the-wall art-show-cum-performance-art, that he created in Weston-super-Mare would bemoan to death a show like this.

But for those that have not had a chance to see Banksy’s work in person, such as myself, this is a fun little gallery to visit in Chelsea, if you ever visit NYC, like myself.  Most of the works on display were print editions that Banksy’s released in the last 10+ years, but there were also original works.  I’m not entirely certain of their authenticity, although the name cards mentioned being authenticated by Pest Control.  No, Pest Control isn’t an extermination company.  That’s Banksy’s institution for authenticating prints, originals, or any other artwork (except for street works, which is to deter people from stealing works from the street) that may have been created by Banksy.  However, there is an easy way to find out if a Bansky street art you find on the street is real:  Visit Banksy’s website because he will update his site with pictures of any new street piece.  These days you should never buy any Banksy artwork without having a certificate of authenticity from Pest Control.  But I digress.

Click through to find the pictures from the show.  I purposely did not take a picture of a Banksy piece that was stolen from the street that they had displayed center stage in the gallery.  No need to encourage behavior like that.  Enjoy.

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“On Our Hands” – Shepard Fairey’s Latest Show @ Jacob Lewis Gallery


“On Our Hands” is the latest solo exhibition of new paintings of various media and sculptures from Shepard Fairey (@obeygiant), and the first solo exhibition the artist has had in New York City since his “May Day” show as the swan song exhibition of Jeffrey Deitch’s Deitch Projects in May, 2010.  The new show came to a close on October 24th, but for those who could not attend, here are some words and photos from the show.

Fairey’s art has always leaned political in subject and bluntly direct in nature so as there not to be any ambiguity of the message that he intends to deliver, and “On Our Hands” was no different.  This new body of work from the artist tackles many topics that has been generating headlines on mainstream media, such as environmental atrophy caused by oil and gas industries, police brutality, campaign finance reform, and global feminism.  The title of the show suggests that it is our responsibility, that the power lies in our hands, to solve these greater problems of the world.

Fairey has always put his money where his mouth is and shouldered the responsibility of focusing the lens on these problems through his public murals, exhibitions, charitable works, and creating recognizable works that reach a critical mass where we can actually start to make a difference.  Although this new body of work is not conceptually profound (I admit though there is no other stencil artist in the world that is doing it with such finesse.  I mean, look at how he incorporates pieces of retired stencil into his painting  to create a 3 dimensional aspect.), in the context of his body of work outside the gallery space it makes complete sense.


Some of the most powerful works in the show are the least assuming, for example the above three portraits.  Upon first glance it is nothing but portraits of anonymous women.  By my American sensibilities, these women are Muslim, but their ability to convey regality and piercing strength with not much more than their eyes hint at Fairey’s message of equal rights for women, even in Arab countries, that women should not be viewed as inferior and should be given equal treatment to men.  There’s also a veil of criticism of American sensibilities as well.  Notice how I immediately assumed these women are Muslim because they donned what looks like the hijab?

Another thing strikes me is how Fairey makes his art accessible for so many levels of collectors.  The canvas pieces are priced at around $48,000, well outside of the budget of 99.9% of America, but the works on paper, retired stencils, and stencils on found papers can range anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, which makes his shows within budget for many collectors despite the blue chip status that Shepard Fairey has been enjoying for the past few years since the first Obama campaign.  In cooperation with the gallery, Pace Prints, which is just one floor below the Jacob Lewis Gallery, released sets of prints in the $2,000 range.  Also the artist releases art prints almost weekly on his website in the $45-60 range that could fit even a college student’s budget.

Although the show has come to an end, click through to find 30+ high-res photos from the show.

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