Time Runs Out for Banksy's “Pet Store”

Banksy's Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill on Seventh Ave in Greenwich Village is something like the world Walt Disney may have created if he had had a social conscience.

With videos all over YouTube and other places (there's a bit of a pissing match over who can make the best, which the show's creators had to have anticipated), the exhibit reaches far beyond the folks who walk through the storefront. But this is the sort of thing you sort of have to smell, and your last chance to do so is tomorrow. The pop-up show comes down October 31.

Banksy is a notorious street artist, best known for guerrilla murals painted in urban landscapes, such as the giant anthropomorphisized Wall Street rat scurrying across a NYC wall with the words "Let them Eat Crack" scrawled next to it that recently appeared at Howard Street on the Lower East Side. There are others, but (though he's never been photographed) he's the the most well-known. The wildfire international Internet interest will only enhance that reputation.

If you've not walked through the store yet, with its living meat products and other curiosities, we wouldn't want to spoil the fun, but the twists are both subtle and mildly disturbing. The menu board that advertises "Flinch Fries" sets the tone. The half sliced sausage, which really looks like he's on his last legs, is particularly poignant (if you can apply that word to a salami with a side of olives).

You will have to brave gawkers standing in the middle of the store shouting into their phones to whomever they are talking that they are standing in the middle of the store. ("Guess where I am! There are wiggling hot dogs! Wiggling!") But it's worth it. Just get there soon.

The display, as far as anyone knows at least, is Banksy's first foray into animatronics, though it's not his first stab at commentary. “I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming,” Banksy said in a statement distributed by a publicist, “but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing.”

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