Believe it: Not 12 hours after Banksy announced his first project in New York since 2010, someone’s gone and vandalized it.
Runnin’ Scared received a tip late last night that the “Graffiti Is a Crime” sign that was integral to the composition of The Street Is in Play, the first stencil of Banksy’s promised city-wide installation, “Better Out Than In,” was already gone.
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Seems graffiti–it’s a crime!–wasn’t sufficient mischief for one bold New Yorker.
Tipster Juan Melano notes that someone–probably some Banksy superfan, or maybe … Juan himself!–snatched the sign sometime between 4 and 9:30 p.m.
Are we mad? Depends. On the one hand, the sign was crucial to the puckish bad-assery of the original design. And lifting that little puzzle piece in hopes of financial gain via the premium Banksy artwork commands these days is decidedly crass.
On the other hand, the “Better Out Than In” hotline (1-800-656-4271 #1) Banksy has rigged up to accompany his promised month-long NYC residency is pretty DGAF about the whole thing to begin with–“The children in this case represent youth, and the sign represents, well, signs”–that it’s hard to imagine the artist going all ZOMG who noodled with my doodle about it. (We’re pretty sure Bansky will, at some point, say, “Noodle with my doodle,” if he hasn’t already.)
So whoever you are: Way to make it about you, kid.
Check the next page for the stencil’s location and what it looked like earlier. Spoiler: It included a sign.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 2, 2013