While you are in the West Loop area checking out our recommendations for Western Exhibitions this week, be sure to go a block north of the gallery on Peoria, across Randolph, and check out British street artist Banksy's work in Chicago. Oh and if you're mad at me for mentioning where these pieces are (that's typically bad form when writing about street art) they've been outted for months now since the Chicagoist reported on them in May last year. Blame the city, not the writer, if they get removed.
This is an "official" Banksy piece, the artist has spawned a lot of imitators and new sightings of his work have to be confirmed through his gallery or his website. But not everyone loves Banksy, as you can see in the above photo other artists are slightly mocking (the speech bubble says "Is it him?! Really?"), and elsewhere his pieces have been defaced by other street artists. I think of it as true street art criticism.
Across the street from the Banksy piece are pieces from several notable Chicago street artists creating an international meeting of street art styles. On the left is a work by CLS who leaves abstract wooden constructions on walls, the middle work is by an artist I will decline to name due to the city's continued persecution of street artists, and at right is a work by Goons that looked fantastic in September of 2010, like a crazy George Clinton.
Some day I hope that the city's attitude towards street art will change and we can talk about these artists and admire their work, and they can live without fear of arrest. Some day.