Sav­ing Banksy

BAR­BICAN SAYS IT WILL KEEP AND PRO­TECT GRAF­FITI CRE­ATED BY CEL­E­BRATED STREET ARTIST

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

VALU­ABLE art works by graf­fiti artist Banksy will be pre­served on the walls of a city cen­tre ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre.

The in­ter­na­tion­ally cel­e­brated artist whose work fetches six-fig­ure sums at auc­tion paid a clan­des­tine visit to the Square Mile just be­fore the open­ing of the Bar­bican’s block­buster Basquiat: Boom for Real ex­hi­bi­tion opened last year.

He cre­ated two works overnight in homage to the pi­o­neer­ing New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and took the Bar­bican man­age­ment team by sur­prise.

The ex­hi­bi­tion proved to be the most suc­cess­ful in 35 years of art shows at the Bar­bican and 216,389 vis­ited it. Many of them also looked at the Banksy works, and it also got ex­tra pub­lic­ity be­cause of the Banksy work.

The first used a char­ac­ter from Basquiat’s own work but showed him be­ing searched by po­lice.

Banksy at­trib­uted the work via his own In­sta­gram ac­count and cap­tioned it ‘Por­trait of Basquiat be­ing wel­comed by the Metropoli­tan po­lice’.

The sec­ond art­work shows five peo­ple wait­ing for a fer­ris wheel and uses the sym­bol of the three-pointed crown which Basquiat of­ten used in his own work.

The US artist Danny Min­nick sub­se­quently added his own work.

The Bar­bican Cen­tre Board agreed to a long-term strat­egy to pro­tect the street level paint­ings on the side of the Bar­bican Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre.

Dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion, it swiftly ar­ranged se­cu­rity.

There were also con­cerns that the City of Lon­don’s clean­ing team might re­move it, but the work was pro­tected.

Other artists have tagged the piece, but these were re­moved by the Bar­bican.

The art has at­tracted 296,000 likes and 2,000 com­ments on Banksy’s of­fi­cial In­sta­gram ac­count.

Last month, Banksy’s Can­vas of Girl With a Bal­loon par­tially self­de­struc­ted af­ter it fetched £1m at auc­tion o the con­ster­na­tion of the art world.

Jonathon Poyner, the Bar­bican’s di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions and build­ings, told the board meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 21, the cost of a pro­tec­tive Per­spex cov­er­ing was in the “mi­nor hun­dreds”.

Wood Lane CGI of Im­pe­rial Col­lege, pic Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, cleared for use by BBC news wire part­ners

Board chair­man Deputy Dr Giles Shil­son said: “The art works have proved very pop­u­lar with the pub­lic. There was a scram­ble when it was thought the clean­ing team would scrub off half a mil­lion pounds of art work by break­fast time.”

Coun­cil­lor Vivi­enne Lit­tlechild (Crip­ple­gate) said she was aware of a round robin let­ter com­plain­ing about peo­ple col­lect­ing on the pave­ment and mak­ing noise as they looked at the art.

Dr Shil­son said he re­ceived one com­plaint “from some­body who said it was grotesque”.

He added that, like the at­ten­tion when Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch ap­peared in Ham­let at the Bar­bican, the “ini­tial flurry of in­ter­est” calmed down.

“Peo­ple do stop and take pho­to­graphs but I think they are not stop­ping there scream­ing,” he said.

The board ap­proved the Bar­bican Cen­tre’s work to pre­serve the paint­ings and meet any costs from their bud­get.

The art­work by Banksy and skater by Danny Min­nick un­der­neath the Bar­bican

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