The ever mysterious art nuisance Banksy kindly gave disbelieving New Yorkers in Central Park a chance (that nearly all of them ignored, because, well, Banksy-looking art had become quite the urban cliche these days) to buy his highly valuable originals for $60 a pop this weekend.
Still, an ungrateful New York Mayor Michael "Enemy of Freedom" Bloomberg wants to find out who he really is, and then arrest him, because---graffiti kills, ya'all.
At a press conference yesterday, Bloomberg signaled that Banksy is, and should be, in the NYPD's crosshairs. "Graffiti does ruin people's property and it's a sign of decay and loss of control," the mayor said. "Art is art, and nobody's a bigger supporter of the arts than I am. I just think there are some places for art and there are some places [not for] art. And you running up to somebody's property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted. And I think that's exactly what the law says."
According to the Post, the mayor's office says the city will remove any Banksy work on public property, such as the 9/11 installation we discovered at the Brooklyn Promenade…:
The Daily News' source tells a different story, explaining to the tabloid that the Vandal Squad only investigates if "someone complained about it," and "I haven't heard of anyone complaining." Except, of course, for the mayor of the city. But who listens to him?
I think it's pretty clear in libertarian/propertarian terms that graffiti is in fact a crime. And it's slightly less clear that Banksy's schtick can be infuriatingly self-satisfied.
Interestingly, according to this lawyer's website, the severity of the punishment for this sort of vandalism in New York depends on the economic level of damage one has done.
But Banksy-izing your property in fact, in the current art market, increases the value, so who knows how this will all pan out in either law or political philosophy if Gotham's mayor can catch a guy whose secret identity is better protected than the Batman's.