Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Old habits.

Bush Blvd Banksy 2
Originally uploaded by Dystopos

From what I understand, Banksy came through Birmingham a couple of nights ago and stopped long enough to leave this little ditty on the wall of an abandoned gas station in West End.

It's interesting because I immediately felt sort of embarrassed that this, a Ku Klux Klan member hung from a noose, is what comes to mind when passing through Birmingham for this gentleman. (I ran across this during my research- disturbing).

I was talking to Jason and I said, "Isn't he a little shit for automatically thinking that this is relevant in Birmingham in 2008?" I mean, I'm aware that racism still exists. I'm also aware that Banksy's artwork is a sort of cultural commentary, doesn't mean that the KKK is alive and thriving in Birmingham, doesn't even mean that he thinks the KKK is alive and thriving in Birmingham.

I also found several message boards with people pondering the same things I was, some more adamantly than others:

"Too bad Bansky didn’t leave some art that doesn’t hearken back to the Civil Rights movement; this is a pretty hackneyed theme in Birmingham these days, really, particularly from outsiders. I trust the lot of us have moved on, artistically speaking."

"Perhaps I’m not the intended audience, being a native of Birmingham born well after the Klan was beaten back into the shadows. I’m pretty sure I don’t understand the relevance of the piece. I do know that the black man who came over ask me about it while I was looking at the work didn’t appreciate it at all."

"There was no notion that banksy was saying the klan was "alive and well in birmingham" just the opposite if you look at the piece. He was making a historic and social comment on the south and the U.S. as a whole."

Interestingness. From what I'm reading, it's already been painted over. Such a disappointment.

My thanks to Dystopos for hopefully allowing me to use his photo on my blog. His was certainly the best photo I could find of the piece.


Anonymous said...

Well, on the one hand he may be saying that we, as Birmingham dwellers (or Ensley to be precise) have hung--or would like to hang-- the KKK--although I'm not sure. On the other hand, it doesn't seem timely. I read some other comments by people and they seem to think that Alabama is a Klan stronghold. I read an article a couple of years ago that said Indiana had the largest concentration of Klan members and housed their headquarters...but this wasn't put up in Indianapolis. I suppose perception is a type of reality. Confusing...maybe that's the point.


Anonymous said...

I looked it up and the headquarters was in Tuscaloosa until around 1980. Now the biggest one is in Arkansas and Texas. The point is the same. So, it's not in Dallas or Little Rock...


GenghisYawn said...

I'm going to have to write about this, rather than leave a long, rambling comment on your pretty blog.


Anonymous said...

I think what Banksy is trying to say is the KKK is dead. Possibly that they hung themselves. I know its kind of a stereotype branded on people from the
Birmingham area but I don't think that was the intention.

Furthermore I am thoroughly upset that someone beat us to the punch. Stucko is easy to pull away from a concrete wall. I just hope the family that we saw taking the piece is going to put it to good use. college or trust funds. Seriously! I've been checking reported prices for Original Banksy work and it is rediculous.


Tmax said...

My Bad might be right in that that the Klan is dead.

Maybe Banksy was just carrying on a theme from his New Orleans (Katrina)work.

Yup. The piece is gone. Someone took down the 8 metal panels it was painted on. There is some speculation over who did the removal.

We may never know for sure.

Anonymous said...

the klan is dead.

Anonymous said...

Umm...that man's hand doesn't appear to be very white to me. And considering how white the robe is it was obviously a choice made by the artist.

I think the Klan robes are being used as a metaphor and this is not literally a klansman. I also don't think that it is such an obvious choice that it symbolizes racism. Klan robes are used to evoke fear and clearly label someone as an enemy. Klan robes are also quite a hoky theatrical device. Think about the political climate that is going on right now. Now what do you think this can mean?

some jerk, who is evidently living in the ku klux klan capital at the moment.

buffy said...

hey jerkface,
i would like to invite you to come live with me, not only because i don't live in the klan capital of the world, but also so's you can just sit on my shoulder and help me interpret everything all the time.

it would be like cirque du soleil except obsurd.

Anonymous said...

I would probably need to shift from one shoulder to the other every once in awhile, just so you don't develop an odd posture. Also, I like to eat Wasa bread which might leave crumbs in your hair.


Anonymous said...

And here's another something...