Banksy – deface me once, shame on you, deface me twice…thanks?

junkyardarts April 1, 2010 Comments Off on Banksy – deface me once, shame on you, deface me twice…thanks?

Today’s Art in the News is a ridiculousness sundae…topped with nuts.

The London Underground had agreed to work with Art Below, a public art group based in West London that aims to bring art and culture to the traveling public while promoting emerging artists (which, obvs, we are all about!).  Art Below also worked in collaboration with Don’t Panic, a free publication around select cities in the UK, as well as an online mag that focuses on art, fashion, music and pop culture in the area (and, um, its pretty awesome).

The ridiculousness of the following story is two fold, so in the infamous words of Sam Jackson: Hold on to your butts.

1. Art Below was able to use an iconic Banksy image for posters in the London Tube (awesome!)  The image used was ‘forgive us our trespassing’ portraying a young boy kneeling and praying by a can of paint, and a yellow dripping halo over his head.

2. The Tube decided that the halo, in it’s dripping fashion, would incite graffiti and defacement in the tube, so….they had the halo removed.

Got that?


Now, aside from the very obvious issue that using a Banksy, any Banksy, is going to show graffiti as recognizable and appreciated art, removing the dripping halo ultimately removes all meaning and really, the friggan point of the original image. So, it’s like I said – ridiculous.

But, as you can see from the image above, someone – some suspect Banksy himself – has repainted the halo.  Awesome right? Restoring the work to mean and represent exactly what it was meant to, in the way it originally happened – mysteriously, under the cover of darkness and anonymity – is a brilliant comment on the acts of the Tube authority.

And here is the cherry to top off this ridiculousness sundae: After the halo was repainted on the poster, the Tube said that the poster had been ‘defaced’ and removed it.

You got it kids.  Defacing the original work to suit your censored needs? not defacing.  Replace said removed element (potentially by original artist)? defacing.

this sundae is giving me brain-freeze.

Art Below / Don’t Panic / BBC News

Comments are closed.