The anti-graffiti, anti-street art wet blanket known as Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently does not like Banksy.
Bloomberg made the erasure of graffiti a big part of his tenure with projects such as the 2002 Graffiti Cleanup Initiative and the launch of the city's Anti-Graffiti Task Force. The initiatives oversaw the removal of over 16.3 million square feet of graffiti from more than 6,241 sites across New York City as a result.
In 2005, Bloomberg also spoke out against a graffiti party hosted by Marc Ecko Enterprises.
So it should not have come as much of a surprise that the billionaire mayor is not a fan of Banksy's latest NYC open-air exhibit "Better Out Than In," even though an authentic Banksy piece can sell for six figures at auction.
When asked about the elusive street artist during an unrelated press conference on Wednesday, Bloomberg responded, “I’ll leave it up to our Department of Cultural Affairs.”
He then went on to add:
“But look, graffiti does ruin people’s property and it’s a sign of decay and loss of control. 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.”
On Wednesday, Banksy revealed his latest piece: a fiberglass sculpture of Ronald McDonald in the South Bronx complete with a human performer shining his comically large clown shoes.