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The ByTowne is now closed.

It's possible that, after the pandemic has been brought under control,
new management will take over the space and offer big-screen wonderfulness again.

The building is being maintained, with all its facilities and equipment intact,
in preparation for that hoped-for day.
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Banksy Does New York

The street is at play.

Whether you think Banksy is legitimate artist, digital-age snake oil salesman (or woman, or collective — who knows?) director Chris Moukarbel’s engaging chronicle of the anonymous British street artist’s 2013 New York residency reveals a provocative social experiment and raises questions about ownership of public art.

Poster art for Banksy Does New YorkBanksy announced he’d produce one piece of art daily for a month at secret locations. Clues, Tweets and posts sent self-described Banksy Hunters on the chase, represented by an engaging pair of dog walkers who videoed their daily sojourns.

Seeing the art first seemed less important than taking a photo of it. Rival street artists defaced some and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg decried the works as vandalism. Others were stolen. Can you steal public art? They are worth a good sum, after all. Banksy set up a stall to sell canvases for $60 as one day’s installation. Few bit. They’re now worth hundreds of thousands.

The often-political artworks show Banksy’s diversity, going beyond the black-and-white stencils he’s become famous for. Among them, a slaughterhouse-bound truck filled with stuffed animals squeaking in distress and a grim reaper figure riding a bumper car around a derelict lot. But when a sphinxlike sculpture shows up in Queens, things get weird.

– Linda Bernard, The Toronto Star

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