Although it isn’t really that exclusive. Internet rumours of a Banksy summer show in Bristol have been flying around for ages; Venue magazine reported the rumours weeks ago. Last night Twitter was burning up with Tweets revealing the venue to be the City Museum and a local blogger actually managed to get a sneak a picture through a gap in a door. Even Radio 4’s Today programme had reported from the Banksy V Bristol Museum show before the Post revealed its “exclusive” online at 0930 (presumably to meet the PR’s embargo instructions).
And what a load of gush the story is; someone at the Post this morning must have very wet undercrackers:
The world’s most famous living artist is coming home. Banksy has sneaked his biggest ever UK exhibition into Bristol.
The Bristol Evening Post can exclusively reveal that the mysterious artist, best known for his subversive stencil graffiti work, has taken over much of Bristol’s City Museum and Art Gallery.
We even have a world exclusive in publishing a picture of the outlandish installation that will greet the hundreds of thousands of art lovers who are likely to descend on the city through the summer from around the world.
. . .
Speaking exclusively to the Bristol Evening Post, Banksy said: “The people of Bristol have always been very good to me – I decided the best way to show my appreciation was by putting a bunch of old toilets and some live chicken nuggets in their museum.
. . .
Many of his most iconic pieces of graffiti have become landmarks in Bristol – from the distinctive Mild, Mild West mural in Stokes Croft, to the naked adulterer apparently hanging from a window on the wall of a sexual health clinic in Park Street.
But this exhibition will be the greatest gift he could have presented to his home city . . .
Banksy personally requested that news of his latest show should be revealed in his home city’s local newspaper.
We have also been offered an exclusive sneak preview of the show today, ahead of its opening. There will be more pictures to follow, and don’t miss your copy of the Bristol Evening Post tomorrow.
[. . . pukes]
But can this really be the same Evening Post which in 2004 ran an “exclusive” photo which “unmasked” Banksy along with this accompanying comment:
So the graffiti artist Banksy is unmasked.
After years of hiding behind a full-face balaclava his identity is revealed.
With his loss of anonymity has gone much of his mystique.
For he thrived on the majority of us not knowing who he was.
Perhaps now we have seen his face we can focus upon whether he is an artist or a common vandal with a talent for using a spray can.
. . .
Raising an aerosol in the name of art may be a way of celebrating free speech but it has a damaging impact on the environment.
For graffiti spawns graffiti and there is no guarantee of its calibre.
. . .
And as Bristol South MP Dawn Primarolo rightly remarked the other day, it scars communities.
If we tolerate graffiti then it will occur everywhere. And that means on walls, buildings, shops, pavements and bridges.
It doesn’t bring colour and interest to an area – it desecrates that area.
And as graffiti grows so people’s pride in the area dwindles.
Someone like Banksy has to understand that and take responsibility for it.
And the same Evening Post which in 2007 said:
Bristol City Council deserves great credit for its plans to tackle graffiti.
It spoils and devalues the look of the city in which we live. And the people responsible for it are nothing more than vandals.
So the city council’s plans for undercover surveillance of the most frequently targeted places is exactly the right approach.
Graffiti artists operate by stealth, so let’s catch them by using the same tactics.
Don’t be fooled by people who bleat about graffiti being a form of self-expression. Nor by those who hold up the likes of Banksy and claim him as a great artist.
Talented he may be and some are willing to pay ludicrous prices for his work but by his own definition he is a vandal.
So let us not make any exceptions. Let’s tar all of those who daub graffiti on buildings, walls, bridges and trains with the same brush.
They are breaking the law and they should be prosecuted.
The city council’s surveillance plans must be the first step. When they have identified the people responsible then it is crucial that they are prosecuted. And it is equally important that if convicted they receive a harsh sentence – whether it’s a fine or a jail term.
No one should shy away from coming down hard on these people. They deface the world around them, they make our environment a poorer place, not a better one.
They are not artists, they are just thugs with spray cans who have found a way to put two-fingers up to society and it is about time society hit back.
Of course, as Banksy has become more popular, famous, rich and establishment, the Post have gradually come around to appreciating his art.
This is obviously philistine bollocks; defining art by its cash value or its celebrity endorsements. It leads to the ludicrous debates we see regularly in the Post about whether a particular piece of graffiti is or is not “a real Banksy”: a paternity test to divine its value and decide whether it is art to be praised or vandalism to be scrubbed away by the council, trashed and forgotten like yesterday’s Evening Post.