After a number of Banksy sojourns abroad, it is now common for the street artist’s work to pop up almost anywhere; but it would seem that the authorities tend to have the same reaction not matter where you are in the world. A Banksy mural of a beret-wearing rat holding a marker pen, was one of six murals that appeared in the city when the artist visited California five years ago, and was subsequently removed from a San Francisco building in 2010, but now the work will now return to the city next week.
The city ordered the removal of the artwork from the side of the Red Victorian Hotel on Haight Street shortly after it appeared, it did so, rather short-sightedly in accordance to the city’s anti-vandalism laws. According to Complex, local art collector Brian Greif launched a Kickstarter campaign titled “Saving Banksy” to “cover all costs for restoration, crating, shipping, storage and insuring the painting until a public institution can be found for the painting.”
In a video, Greif states, “I’ve been contacted by those galleries…they offered me $500,000 for this Banksy, which I refused…because I believe that public art should remain public.”
But due to the mural being removed from the street, Greif was unable to have it authenticated, a fact that has obviously discouraged museums and galleries from buying up the piece. As a compromise, Greif agreed to have the artwork exhibited in the window of the non-commercial San Francisco art space 836M so that the work can be viewed from the street, as reported by SF Weekly.
The official opening takes place on January 21, the piece will remain on display in the gallery window until July 11.