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Banksy Paints a Nazi to Raise Money for AIDS

The British street artist cribs a little Hannah Arendt as well

Adam Chandler
October 29, 2013
'The banality of the banality of evil'(Banksy)
'The banality of the banality of evil'(Banksy)

Last week we wrote about the New York residency of the British street artist Banksy, which has been marked by semi-hilarious graffiti stunts, ersatz social commentary, and enough collective hot air to stave off winter. Now nearing the end of his month, Banksy has decided to help give back a little bit. His latest stunt apparently involves the organization Housing Works, the popular New York thrift store chain, which raises money for homelessness and AIDS, and the doctoring of a piece of art.

Today’s new Banksy post has been unveiled, and this time around it’s a Nazi soldier painted into another oil painting. He wrote: “A thrift store painting vandalised then re-donated to the thrift store.” That thrift store is Housing Works on East 23rd Street… and we’re guessing a lot of people are headed there to try to buy it right now. He calls the piece: “The banality of the banality of evil.”

The painting, which sat totally unnoticed all day in the Housing Works Gramercy branch, will be auctioned off in the coming days to raise money for AIDS and homelessness. So where on the Kosher spectrum does purchasing a painting of a bucolic lake setting with a Nazi superimposed on it fall?

For now, that’s a $74,000 question–the opening bidding price on the Banksy piece.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.