Blek Le Rat @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery
I've been mentioning Banksy here a bunch lately, so let me introduce you to the man who influenced him the most: Blek Le Rat. (aka: Xavier Prou) He's a French graffiti artist who was using stencils to create street art 20 years before Banksy. He basically invented the life size stencil that you see everywhere today. He became well known for stenciling rats all over around Paris...hence his rodent inspired title.
Although I find his historical references and tongue-in-cheek social commentary interesting, I found the gallery too sterile an environment for his work. It belongs outside. I was far more interested in the video showing his graffiti work out on the streets, because that's what completes it. Transplanting his stencils into the a simply didn't translate for me.
Jonathan LeVine Gallery: 529 W 20th Street, 9th Floor...Up through November 15th