Arts & Culture

Banksy Channels Hannah Arendt and Nazis

His newest work is at a Housing Works in Gramercy Read More

By / October 29, 2013

Banksy unveiled his latest today: a Nazi injected into an otherwise bucolic landscape painting, comprised of leaves, snowcapped mountains, and a shimmering lake.

Aptly titled, “The banality of the banality of evil,” Banksy explains on his site that he vandalized and then re-donated the painting to the Housing Works thrift store in Gramercy, with one not-so-subtle addition.

Banksy has been really pushing New York City’s envelope lately. Earlier this week, he posted a rejected op-ed that he had submitted to the New York Times, calling the new World Trade Center building an eyesore and a defeat to the terrorists of September 11:

It would be easy to view One World Trade Centre as a betrayal to everyone who lost their lives on September 11th, because it so clearly proclaims the terrorists won. Those 10 men have condemned us to live in a world more mediocre than the one they attacked, rather than be the catalyst for a dazzling new one.

When Hannah Arendt coined the term “the banality of evil” to describe the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker in 1963, it created quite the uproar. What do you think of Banksy’s appropriation of Arendt’s famous line? Has Banksy’s edgy, interactive street art gone too far by making light of genocide?

Here’s the trailer for Margarethe von Trotta’s “Hannah Arendt” in case you have no idea what the eff me and Banksy are talking about: