October 18, 2013

On Banksy's NY Residency: Respect to 9/11

Perhaps the closest he’s going to get to a love poem, I keep admiring Banksy’s homage as part of his one month New York street residency.

If most of Banksy’s work is more irreverent or sarcastic, this is uncharacteristically lyrical, the man paying his respects. How elegant the way the chrysanthemum simultaneously signifies the impact and the explosion (quite a mirror of the photographs) as well as beauty and life. I know the man works quickly so I can’t tell how much he intended the petals to appear blackened but it speaks eloquently both to the horror as well as the re-emergence.

I also really liked this Wikipedia passage on the section of the chrysanthemum page titled “Cultural significance and symbolism.” (It might not be accurate to classify the particular variety in the photo as incurved. If I understand it right, that’s where the petals angle in and you can also see a disk in the center. But still…)

In some countries of Europe (e.g., France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Croatia), incurve chrysanthemums are symbolic of death and are used only for funerals or on graves, while other types carry no such symbolism; similarly, in China, Japan and Korea, white chrysanthemums are symbolic of lamentation and/or grief. In some other countries, they represent honesty.[7] In the United States, the flower is usually regarded as positive and cheerful,[8] with New Orleans as a notable exception.

Death and grief. Honesty and positivity. Nice.

…Banksy did a similar residency in New Orleans in 2008, by the way.

(photos via BanksyNY.com)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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