Many consider French street artist BLEK LE RAT a founding father of the genre — which makes sense because he kind of looks like someone’s dad.
When I hit up the opening of PARIS — NEW YORK, NEW YORK— PARIS, his new solo exhibition at Chelsea’s JONATHAN LEVINE GALLERY, my eyes were drawn to a large-scale painting with an image of the Invisible Man and the simple message “Banksy?”
My first thought: this old dude is trying to start an art world rap battle by calling out the man whose work gets confused for his own. But Blek made it clear that there are no hard feelings between the two.
“I am a big fan of BANKSY’s stuff. A few months ago I received a package from him in the mail and it was full of all of this fantastic work. This piece is supposed to pay tribute to him as the Invisible Man who everyone is searching for and wondering about.”
When I asked if the envelope had a return address on it, he smiled and shook his head. But then he assured me that he was keeping it at home in a very safe place.
Why would you keep an old envelope Blek? I think I smell a rat.