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The Anonymous Exhibitionism of Banksy Does New York

The Anonymous Exhibitionism of Banksy Does New York


Chris Moukarbel's new documentary investigates the epic art stunts that continue to confound

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

If Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop was a gonzo, cinematic riff on an artist's statement, Chris Moukarbel's new HBO doc, Banksy Does New York, is a museum tour turned on its ear. Tautly chronicling its subject's 2013 New York "residency" -- in which Banksy spent the month of October staging fleeting, sometimes elaborate, daily installations -- Moukarbel's film surrenders itself to the contradictions inherent in everything Banksy touches. Case in point: Newscasters and Mayor Michael Bloomberg speak out against building defacement, but if your home is tagged with a Banksy, its value skyrockets.

Meanwhile, as chaotic as Banksy's epic stunt may have been, Moukarbel (who is Jake Shears's partner) tips the scales to depict it as a unifying event, with journalists, aesthetes, and "Banksy chasers" following the peerless prankster on social media and participating in his citywide scavenger hunt. It may be tempting to ponder the themes of Banksy Does New York further. Or you could just defer to a snippet from the provocateur's audio guide, which ran on his pop-up website during his residency: "Let's pause for a moment to consider the deeper meaning of this...OK, that's long enough."

Banksy Does New York premieres Nov. 17 on HBO. Watch the trailer below:

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