Banksy, the prolific, British, graffiti-artist-prankster declares, “New Yorkers don’t care about art, they care about pets. So I’m exhibiting them instead.” Last week this master of satire opened The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City to display peculiar breeds and brands of creatures in humorous, yet disturbing, scenarios. The precise animatronics of these mutants are extending the gazes of onlookers and raising more than an eyebrow or two.
The show is visible to the public both day and night through the store front windows. You can see McNuggets dipping themselves in (or sipping) barbecue sauce, a rabbit putting on makeup, baby cctv cameras staring lovingly at a larger “mother” camera, and a wildcat (convincingly folded leopard print coat) sleeping and curling it’s tail. Inside, a monkey obsessively watches itself on National Geographic TV, a haggard Tweety Bird sadly swings in its cage, breaded fish sticks swim around in their bowls, a bologna sausage wiggles in the sand, and hot dogs bask under heat lamps or fornicate in tanks fitted with French’s mustard feeding bottles.
As this is the first work he’s made of this nature, Banksy explains, “I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming, but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing. I took all the money I made exploiting an animal in my last show and used it to fund a new show about the exploitation of animals. If it’s art and you can see it from the street, I guess it could still be considered street art.”
The quiet opening that was a wonder to random passersby has since drawn fans from all over the city. To see it for yourself, visit 89 Seventh Ave. South in NYC by Halloween or check out videos here.
Want more Banksy? Support Art Threat by picking up a copy of Banksy’s Wall and Peace, published by Random House.