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Banksy says his New York art show is 'pointless'

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The secretive street artist Banksy has opened up about the thinking behind his ongoing New York City art show. In an email exchange with the Village Voice, Banksy explains that the show — which finds him creating a new piece each day in October — isn't entirely pre-planned and will involve him reacting to his surroundings while he lives in the city. "Some of it will be pretty elaborate, and some will just be a scrawl on a toilet wall," he tells the Village Voice. His third piece, for instance, largely involved runny graffiti lines, while the following day he built a diorama of a mountainside waterfall into the back of a truck and had it tour around the East Village.

"There is absolutely no reason for doing this show at all."

"There is absolutely no reason for doing this show at all," Banksy tells the Village Voice. He explains that street art — especially when it's earning the artist money — can just feel like marketing, and that he wanted this show to be different. "It's pointless. Which hopefully means something."

Despite rising to fame for his street art, the Village Voice reports that Banksy has profited quite a bit from proper sales of his work. Balancing that success with his roots has apparently become a continued struggle for him, in many ways feeding into the ethos of his New York show. "There's no way round it — commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist," Banksy writes. He says that he originally started painting on the street because it was the only way he could display his work, "Now I have to keep painting on the street to prove to myself it wasn't a cynical plan."

Though the artworks created in New York are being preserved thanks to his photos on Instagram, fans may have little time to actually see them in person. According to the Village Voice, several of the pieces were defaced or covered up within a matter of hours. But that feeling of transience seems to be one that appeals to Banksy. Even if they are destroyed quickly, he thinks they might find a sizable audience while they last. "I read that researchers at a big museum in London found the average person looked at a painting for eight seconds," he tells the Village Voice. "So if you put your art at a stoplight you're already getting better numbers than Rembrandt."