Banksy's brilliant new mural commenting on homelessness

Originally published at:


assuming the actual human element of this is staged with an actor, or that would be kinda f’d up. ha


Seems Ryan really is homeless, but a willing participant. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that - thanks for raising it.

The Guardian’s art critic’s take (including Banksy’s tweet comment about the people of Birmingham) is interesting.


this is interesting! I had never heard this: “After Warhol died it emerged that the supposedly celebrity-obsessed artist regularly worked in New York soup kitchens. Two other artists who are known to help the homeless directly in their Spitalfields neighbourhood are Gilbert and George.”


Over the weekend, Banksy s̶t̶e̶n̶c̶i̶l̶e̶d̶ defaced a wall […]


Deface v. transitive . To mar the face, features, or appearance of; to spoil or ruin the figure, form, or beauty of; to disfigure.



I’ll give you that Bansky graffitied the wall, but not defaced.



The definition of deface means to ruin the surface, e.g. with writing or pictures.


Yeah, whether this is positive or negative attention kinda turns on the public’s interpretation of “problem” in the phrase “growing homelessness problem.” i.e. do you think homelessness is a problem, or do you think the homeless are a problem. Solutions will tend to vary radically…


Yup. The definition of ruin is “to damage (something) so badly that it is no longer useful, valuable, enjoyable, etc. : to spoil or destroy (something)”

Wall stills seems useful. Is clearly more valuable. I’d say more enjoyable too, in that most people don’t get a ton of enjoyment from blank walls.


From the second article, about the added red noses:

The street art, which appeared in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter over the weekend, was vandalised on Monday


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In what sense did Banksy “ruin” this wall?

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It was a crisp winter day in 1947 when renowned sculptor Isaac Pendelton began his masterwork, a study in brick and cement, which he subsequently titled “Mortar and Pestilence,” a reference that was at once a grim nod to the recently ended World War II as well as a commentary on the local rodent infestations that followed, particularly in his home town of Birmingham.

Consisting of orderly rows and columns of interleaved brick and mortar lovingly sculpted to a height of three meters and topped by angled cement peaks, his work was instantly lauded for both its aesthetics and function. “I sincerely hope the symmetry of form and plain, unblemished face will bring joy to the local populace, which have grown weary of the chaos and turmoil of war,” the artist remarked in an interview with him shortly after the sculpture’s unveiling. “My work speaks for itself, and needs no embellishment or adornment.”

Ever the humble artist, Pendelton requested that his work remain unsigned, and it is for this reason that today most people don’t realize that what appears to be merely a wall providing security is in actuality one of the 20th century’s greatest work of art, intended to serve as a perpetual monument to simplicity and a warning against haphazard appropriation.


Your entire post is amazing and absurd. The artistry of your devil’s advocate approach to this event pleases me almost as much as the mural.

That your sendoff could as easily be a comment on the reindeer as well as the wall is a nice touch. Thanks moser!


@kmoser wins the Internet today.


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