Banksy, pseud. of an English graffiti artist, c.1974–, probably b. Bristol. He painted on walls, bridges, and the like in Bristol and London in the 1990s before he began to use (c.2000) stencils and stencils combined with free-hand work, which became his hallmark. His images, often paired with witty or cutting epigrams, tend to be satirical, antiauthoritarian, and anticapitalist, and his skill at art and social commentary helped make street art mainstream. In addition to Bristol and London, his work has appeared in other cities worldwide and in such places as the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier (2005) and the environs of a refugee camp near Calais, France (2014). It also has been sneaked into such museums as London's Tate and New York's Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan and has received formal museum exhibition. His self-published books include Banging Your Head against a Brick Wall (2001), Cut It Out (2004), and You Are an Acceptable Level of Threat (2012); Wall and Piece (2005) was published commercially. Banksy is also a filmmaker, best known for the documentary Exit through the Gift Shop (2010). In 2008 London's Daily Mail identified Banksy as a man named Robin Gunningham; university researchers using geographic profiling contended in 2016 that it confirmed that identification.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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