Look, I know that painting over a Bansky isn’t funny...
Ateashop in Bristol has lost half a Banksy artwork due to a workman mistakenly painting over the shutters on to which it was graffitied. He stopped when a passerby alerted him, but the damage was done. Arguably, it improved the art, which even Banksy fans would admit isn’t his best – more of an early daub that, from a distance, could be mistaken for a generous spray of psychedelic pigeon droppings. The teashop owners are now appealing for someone to finish the piece. Perhaps Banksy himself could do the honours? Failing that, a five-yearold with a poster-paint set, drinking straws and a spare 15 minutes.
Such is the urban guerrilla nature of Banksy’s choice of canvas, this wasn’t the first time his art had been unwittingly vandalised. A part of me can’t help but giggle when works of art are accidentally destroyed in this way. I’m not mocking the artists in question, it’s more to do with the mundane ways in which these disasters tend to occur. This time, a workman splashed paint on to some old shutters. Another time, at Charles Saatchi’s home, someone unplugged a refrigerator – to use a vacuum cleaner – causing Marc Quinn’s Self (a cast of his head in his own blood) to defrost and turn into a big red puddle.
Apologies to Quinn, but the thought of that plug being removed for some quick vacuuming makes me laugh to this day. Perhaps it’s because such incidents are witty interplays of art connecting with real life – stick with me – fusing together in perfect synchronicity to produce a statement that is part creativity, part human error-cum-catastrophe. Or, more likely, I’m a childish philistine who needs to grow up. As with all art, it’s probably best to leave it open to interpretation.