An upcoming HBO documentary about the ever-elusive street artist Banksy is worthwhile for fans, but "it doesn't cast a light on who Banksy is or what she looks like," writes Kriston Capps at Citylab. That's right, what she looks like. For a variety of reasons, Capps thinks it's more likely that Banksy is a woman. Yes, most interviews with people who supposedly know Banksy refer to the artist as a "he," and the 2010 film Exit Through the Gift Shop features a voice purported to be Banksy's that is scrambled but nonetheless obviously belongs to a man. Capps thinks it's all deliberate misdirection. She cites one theory that Bansky is actually a team of seven artists led by a woman and finds it at least as plausible as the "flimsy" suggestions that Banksy is a man.
Look at the art itself. "Girls and women figure into Banksy's stenciled figures, for starters, something that isn't true of 99 percent of street art," writes Capps. Nor is it concerned with the "masculine" idea of "redundant branding," referring to the way many street artists make their name by repeating an image over and over. Banksy innovates in contemporary art, another "feminine trait," writes Capps. "The best selfie artists are women, for example," she writes. Banksy, then, is "at the intersection of the street and the art world," concludes Capps. "Why would anyone expect that position to be occupied by a man?" Click for the full column.