Is it possible that Banksy is a woman? While it sounds like one of those questions you ask the first time you get stoned (“Dude, maybe God is a woman?”), in advance of this weekend’s HBO documentary Banksy Does New York there are some new theories about the identity of the famously anonymous street artist. For the first time, Atlantic City Labs is making the case that Banksy is, in fact, a female street artist.
Though Banksy has always been referred to as “he” in articles, interviews with “colleagues,” and in the 2011 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, City Labs posits that we’ve been thinking about this all wrong, for many reasons (read the full piece here), but mainly this one:
Girls and women figure into Banksy’s stenciled figures, for starters, something that isn’t true of 99 percent of street art. Banksy’s work has always done more than project “Banksy” ad nauseam. (In fact, a “handling service” called Pest Control exists to authenticate Banksy’s protean projects.) Banksy’s graffiti understands and predicates a relationship between the viewer and the street, something that graffiti that merely shouts the artist’s name or icon over and over (and over and over) doesn’t do.
Including images of women and not making every work a self-aggrandizing billboard? Yeah, no way Banksy is a dude.