New, gallery-wrapped (stretched canvas, stapled on a wood frame) and
ready to be displayed right out of the box.
Banksy’s wry take on the ethos of urban New York first appeared during his 2009 ‘Better Out than In' street show. Sat atop an upturned basket, an utterly stereotypical street kid – something straight out of Parappa the Rapper – daubs in disjointed and undecorated lettering a message for his block. But, for once, "One Original Thought Worth a Thousand Quotings" is not such a savage critique of its subject. The youth, so at ease in his occupation and surroundings, takes his time sketching on the city walls. With a waxy crayon in hand, it is almost as if he is doodling on his parent’s wall, and discovering an early ancestor of graffiti art. He stares to the viewer, the passer-by, and the pedestrian, waiting for someone to scold him or at least provide him with a response. Although consciously negating his own statement, the youth is applying a quote from Diogenes the Cynic to his own interpretation of the politics of guerilla art. With his work often derided as cynical, Banksy’s clear interest in Diogenes, the father of cosmopolitanism and gung-ho philosophizing serves to expose the inaccuracy of the claim. Diogenes, known to the occupants of Ancient Greece as an eccentric nuisance, lived a hermit’s lifestyle in an oversized pot. Rather than writing down his ideas for posterity he used his actions and lifestyle to expose the corruption at the heart of his society. That his ideas exist solely through the fact that his words were remembered and subsequently quoted, defies the efficacy of his statement. But it was his public persona, like a guerilla philosopher, that street artists have found so inspirational.