The interview was rebroadcast on The Banksy Story, a new 10-part BBC podcast about the mystery maker.
A new audio series has unearthed an old interview with someone claiming to be Banksy, giving a voice to a person whose identity remains a mystery.
The three-minute interview was shared again by the Banksy’s story, a new 10-part podcast about the artist that launched today on the BBC. It originally aired on NPR’s All Things Considered radio show in March 2005, shortly after the artist surreptitiously installed his work in four of New York’s largest museums, namely the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Natural History.
“Is this the real voice of Banksy?” asked the podcast host, James Peak, as he sets up the stage before the archival recording begins. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s a classmate of his. Maybe it’s deliberate misdirection. Maybe it’s him.
“If it’s him, it’s the first time we’ve heard of it.”
NPR host Michele Norris began with a similar question in her 2005 interview. “We assume you are who you say you are, but how can we be sure?” she said.
“Oh, you have no guarantee of that at all,” the interviewee replied nonchalantly in a thick British accent.
Most of the artist’s subsequent responses in the interview are equally wry and pithy. When Norris asked if he sees himself as “an artist, a bandit, [or] a joker”, he limited himself to saying: “Painter and decorator”. When asked how he hung his work in all four museums without anyone noticing, he quoted another master con artist, Harry Houdini: “I would say he has some good advice for approaching artists.”
Norris followed up with the same question, at which point the supposed Banksy offered a glimpse of how he pulled off the trick.
“I think it’s kind of a testament to the state of mind most people are in when they’re in a museum,” he said. “Most people let the world pass over them. They don’t pay much attention to most things, not even, apparently, people with big beards handling pieces of art and sticking them together.”
“I thought some of them were pretty good. So I thought, you know, put them in a gallery. Otherwise, they would just stay at home and no one would see them, right? the artist continued, before offering what sounded like genuine advice: “If you wait for people to latch on to what you’re doing, you’ll be waiting forever. You could also cut out the middleman and put it in yourself.”
“But what you’re doing is illegal,” Norris retorted.
“That’s what makes it so much fun,” the man said.
Self-identified not as a journalist but as a “Banksy superfan”, Peak traces the artist’s career from its origins to the present day in his audio series. At the heart of the podcast is a series of interviews with a gallerist named Steph Warren, who claims to have worked closely with Banksy in the early 2000s.
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