Banksy’s Pet Project
By Maria Popova
DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?
We’re known here for our love/hate relationship with Banksy. (That, and our sometimes-excessive-always-obsessive hyphenation.) We’ve followed the legendary guerrilla artist through his greatest feats, his most questionable street-cred-dampening moves, and his alleged outing.
But today, we find him in the limbo between all these things, on his first official show in NYC — a part-pet-shop, part-meat-store Frankenstein.
The Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill offers anything from pet supplies to packaged meats to animatronic foodstuffs to monkeys watching primate porn on the Discovery Channel.
We suspect the intentionally paradoxical project is intended as critical commentary on humanity’s extreme egocentricity and our toxic tendency to use the rest of the natural world as props in the grand production of our vanity-driven civilization.
Or, you know, it’s just for shits and giggles.
The most compelling piece in the show has to be the stunningly convincing jaguar napping lazily in the storefront window, swinging its tail oh-so-drowsily. But when the camera turns the corner, it reveals the “jaguar” is actually a fur coat lined with blood-red silk, its “tail” nothing more than a coat belt.
If you find yourself in the Village sometime between now and October 31, stop by 89 Seventh Avenue for an existential reality check or, you know, some monkey porn.
Published October 10, 2008