Banksy’s New Piece Is a Bumper-Car-Riding Reaper on the Bowery [Updated]


Looks like the Graffiti Marauder is participating in the holiday spirit. Banksy updated his Instagram at 6 p.m. (at some point during the day he pushed back the time by an hour), showing what seems to be a witch sitting on a Delorean? A frocked goat riding a bumper car? Somewhere in between? Spooooooky, etc.

Update,10:15 p.m.: Okay, so we were a little off: It’s actually a not-so-Grim Reaper riding a bumper car to the sweet sounds of Blue Öyster Cult’s 1976 hit “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” and it’s located at Houston and Elizabeth streets.

The sculpture will be on display from dusk until midnight, every night until Sunday. Here’s the video Banksy posted earlier this evening:

Reaper from BetterOut on Vimeo.

And some context, courtesy of the audio guide:

Good evening. You’re at Houston Street on the Bowery.

Welcome to the fair — which life isn’t.

Please be aware no flash photography is permitted.

You know, just keep it nice and simple.

This is the dance of death, in which the harvester of souls has been reproduced as a accurately as accounts, and the artist’s talents, will allow.

This sculpture perfectly represents death in that it’s a bit … random.

The artist had said that he wanted to make a piece of art that would last forever, about the importance of living in the moment.

Let us pause for a minute and step back. [Car honks] Not that far! Jesus.

Consider, if you will, the fragility of existence, the thin slice of life afforded to each of us to contribute something to the story of human life on Earth.

Why are we here? What are we doing? Why the accordion music?

Did you know that statistically, one of you present will die tonight?

Oh wait — that’s, “Statistically, one of your phones will die tonight.”

Still pretty tragic, though.

It is often said that the role of art is to remind us of our mortality.

Brainsky’s take on that seems to be mounting an art show that goes on for so long, we all wish we were dead already.

Let us pause to consider these words from the great poet Wikipedia, who once said,

“Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
looms but the horror of the shade,
and yet the menace of the years finds,
and shall find me, unafraid.
It matter not how straight the gate,
how charged with punishment this world.
I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul.”

Okay, enough with the accordion music!

Who does this guy think he is, Arcade Fire?

The quote, by the way, is from William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus.” (Thanks Wikipedia!)

A few art lovers captured photos and video from the scene.

See Also: Exclusive Interview With Banksy and More

Here’s our running map of all of Banksy’s pieces.

View Banksy in New York in a larger map