Look, I know that paint­ing over a Ban­sky isn’t funny...

The Observer - - Comment & Analysis -

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.

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