Banksy’s Welcome in Walmartland

The British graffiti master Banksy has been in New York for the past month, and Mayor Bloomberg has labeled him a vandal. How can he be a vandal when his art raises the value of the buildings, the building owners post guards to protect it or they’re able to remove the door or piece of wall and memorialize it? Bansky art has gone for $1 million-plus in recent auctions.

2-CROPPED-man-with-flowers-01-WEB-privateI want him to come to Northwest Arkansas! After all, we have the Crystal Bridges Art Museum here. Can you imagine a Bansky stenciled piece on the outside wall of this great museum? It could draw even more visitors to our area.

Of course, this masked artist would likely use that piece to take a jab at commercialism at the Walmartland museum. But Banksy pieces are often thought provoking.

In 2005, when he was just becoming an international star, Banksy painted images on West Bank’s concrete wall in Israel. The stenciled pieces included two children with bucket and shovel, dreaming of the beach; a girl holding balloons floating to the top of the wall; and a boy with a ladder.

In New York throughout October, he was putting out an art piece daily under the theme “Better In Than Out,” but that apparently stopped last week. His website said the project was canceled due to police activity. If Bloomberg won’t welcome him, I’d urge Rogers Mayor Greg Hines to offer an invitation. A Banksy mural would be much better than the retro Coca-Cola ad we have on the side of a building. I bet Hines would stop his code enforcement graffiti team from wiping away a valuable Banksy installation.

While in New York, he produced a fantastic stenciled piece of a man leaning against the wall holding flowers outside the Hustler Club. His tour has also included a replica of the Great Sphinx of Gaza made from smashed cinder blocks, and a mural of a small boy spray painting with a butler standing next to him holding out a tray of spray paint cans.172365_10150095802588564_566923563_6475478_6003835_o

Banksy’s unique art piece “The Crayola Shooter” is probably my favorite. It was done in Los Angeles in 2011 and shows a child aiming a machine gun and using crayons for bullets.

So come on Banksy, let’s see what you can do in these Ozark hills!

BBs, Caskets and Art

The BBs scatter and ricochet in an empty mausoleum crypt like a kindergarten class bursting onto a playground. They move quickly, bounce off each other and stop in random spots.

The cylindrical BB shape makes for a perfect tool to move a casket easily in the tight space. They roll with ease beneath, keeping the bottom from scraping along the concrete interior as it’s pushed into place.

I thought of the way we used BBs at the cemetery when I read last week about Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville using them to weigh down art displays. Most museums use elevator weights made of cast iron, sand or lead shot for anchoring their display cases.

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But Crystal Bridges is taking advantage of a local resource in the Daisy BB company, and is better off for it. There are no health concerns and moisture issues, and they’re cheap. Daisy has donated about 6,000 pounds in defective BBs for anchoring the display cases.

The museum, according to the article, moves the BBs into bags from big blue 55-gallon barrels. We bought BBs in small cardboard tubes and had a lot less hassle in using them to serve our need. But they seem to be the perfect tool for either use.

A typical empty casket can weigh 200 pounds or more, and the opening in each mausoleum space is made with little room to spare. Tandem units that allow two burials end-to-end in one mausoleum crypt mean the first burial has a long way to go. There could be a lot of scratches and damage to a costly casket holding precious cargo without the aid of the simple BBs.

Crystal Bridges hosts hundreds of people daily. They gawk and stare, and move around the museum’s many display cases that manage to stay in place, keeping their precious cargo stable with the help of those same simple BBs.

I have to wonder how the emperor Shah Jahan would have used BBs in the 17th Century when moving his wives into the Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest and most beautiful mausoleum. All he had was some little ole elephants.