One of the most sacred motifs in the history of network television was handed over to one of the most subversive and notorious artists in the history of art as graffiti guru Banksy was given the reigns of the opening sequence of The Simpsons!
Banksy applies some subtle stamps on the opening montage, including Bart’s chalkboard punishment statement, “I must not write all over the walls.” But things get a little crazy dark and Banksyfied once we reach the familiar couch gag!
Fox pulled the hi-def clip from Youtube, so here’s a fairly crappy version. (If you live in the US you can watch the whole episode via Hulu!)
Even with the liberties granted shock-animation shows like Family Guy I have to admit I’m a little surprised Fox let that through! (I’ve already filled out the paperwork to patent the dolphin head box sealer. I just don’t see the unicorn hole-punch being practical enough to be marketable.) Children slaving away over cartoon cells and toxic chemicals, kittens ground up for Bart Simpson doll stuffing, enslaved and whipped panda bears… I can’t bring myself to talk any more about the unicornial and dolphinaic monstrosities committed in the clip!
Click the panoramic photo for a larger image in the gallery. You can then click that image for a super-sized version!
As far as the show’s choice of Banksy as director, the pairing is a match made in conceptual heaven! I’m sure the pioneering sensibilities of Matt Groenig’s satirical humor on The Simpsons must have had an influence on a young Banksy wandering the streets of Great Britain with a can of spray paint and a barrel of attitude! (There’s probably a good chance the first ever graffiti he created was a rebellious “Eat My Shorts” ode to the world’s most famous spike-haired vandal!)
I had a little fun in Photoshop creating a Banksy/Simpsons brick wall graffiti graphic, so here that is followed by some more screen caps from the clip:
Not familiar with the work of Banksy? Well that’s a darn shame! I’m usually not much of one for politically-motivated conceptual art but Banksy is able to create images that rise above just being “political” and easily find themselves among the works of the greatest “fine” artists! His work has an impossible recipe of 75% serious and 75% fun and I think he’s able to squeeze in all 150% thanks to his ingenious cleverness that is so immaculate and sharp it can only be called beautiful.
Here is a video with some samples of Banky’s work that begins with a couple of his paintings that he slipped into actual European art museums and hung them on the wall to see how long they would go unnoticed! After that the video moves on to some examples of his graffiti.
And here’s a “Who Is Banksy” sort of thing:
The Simpsons photos: Fox