Stolen – Damaged and Power-Washed! Will Banksy Survive? – New Group Forms To Protect Street Art
Last month just before the Oscars several new works by the Bristol born Artist, Banksy (AKA Robin Gunningham) appeared in various locations in Los Angeles. A number of these works have now been stolen, vandalized and destroyed by local councils and the public. The latest loss of a major work was located on a wall in Westwood California. It was created to promote his Oscar nominated documentary film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. The work was dubbed “The Crayola Shooter.” The image was spray-painted in an alleyway off Kinross behind Urban Outfitters, between Glendon and Westwood Blvd. The wall piece was an immediate hit with the public and even Urban Outfitters were thrilled to have the mural close by. An official from the retail chain stated, “We actually loved the painting, “Wall and Piece ” is one of our best selling book titles, in the store, so we are no stranger to Banksy”. The artwork has now been removed or power-washed off the building, raising questions as to who the culprits were that removed it.
Other works have been cut away with angle grinders or torn down by billboard companies. CBS should be held accountable for the destruction of the iconic drunken Mickey and Minnie Mouse, an image of Mickey Mouse, putting his arm around a scantily clad model, with Minnie Mouse watching off to the side. This work shot around the world on the news and went viral on the web. It was recently witnessed being pulled down by workers who crumpled it up and dumped it on a CBS back lot. The work is estimated to be worth around $200,000 on the open market but who owns it? It is high time we put a stop to the disregard and destruction of these cultural icons. ArtLyst has started a Facebook page dedicated to listing and protecting works by Banksy and other quality street artists. If you would like to join and show your support…..
Here is the link: SOSA Save Our Street Art
SOSA is the start of a lobbing group which plans to list and put pressure on Local Councils to be responsible for the protection of these works. It is time to start treating them as they would any piece of public art under their control. Camden Council removed one of Banksy’s best known works (French Maid ) stating that it encouraged anti social behavior.
These works are in desperate need of preservation some are flaking and must be put under protective care. A worldwide preservation society needs to be actioned immediately, if we are to protect these important 21st century frescoes.
Recently Google launched “Google Street Art View”. The Street Map site can be utilized to showcase works of graffiti art from around the globe. This project has been realized through a collaboration between the Brazilian ad agency Loducca and Red Bull. It has created an innovative source for discovering new works, the project is user driven. Artwork is searchable by location or author, and while locations are restricted to those places where Google’s cameras have recorded the area, Street Art View’s goal was to be “the biggest art collection in the world”. After just a few days live, the platform had over 200 walls tagged in various countries, including big names such as Keith Haring, Os Gêmeos and Banksy. The drawback is that the photos were already a few years old and many of the works were gone. Another downside was that It pinpointed the works to thieves and over zealous councils who have than removed the works.
This type of technology is proof that we have the know-how and viewing platform but now need to protect our heritage. These 21st century cultural icons are valid works of contemporary art and need strict guidelines and preservation orders. They are not taken seriously by local councils and private owners who don’t differentiate the works from the thousands of Tags and sub grade quality Graffiti Art that appears and disappears every day in most cities across the world.
Many of the earlier works can be viewed on Google Street Art View
Watch Video of CBS Destroying a Banksy