All these 100% fake Banksy exhibitions. 22 August 2022

There are two types of unauthorized Banksy-exhibitions; the ones with 100% fake reproductions and the exhibitions with 100% authentic pieces. The exhibitions with authentic pieces are unauthorized by the artist, but well-curated displays of special edition screen-prints, canvases and other unique material, all with Certification of Authenticity issued by Pest Control together with high-quality ephemera. One of these exhibitions is “Art of Banksy”, last seen in Covent Garden in London and Washington DC. (The Art of Banksy was initially curated by former agent Steve Lazarides.) The other ones are “Banksy – the Art of Protest” – previously labelled as “Genius or Vandal?” and “Building Castles in the Sky”, last seen in New York and curated by Andipa. The three of them source their pieces from serious long-term collectors. One can assume they are not very popular with the Banksy camp, but nevertheless, they are honest and well-executed exhibitions.

On the other side: more than 20 ongoing exhibitions around the world with 100% fake artwork, squeezing out the exhibits mentioned above. Typically these fake exhibits consist of bad reproductions of street art and shoddy copies of his most iconic canvases and screen-prints. The organizers often promote the fake studio pieces as being authentic. To make it even more fake and confusing, one of these shady operators has copied the name of The Art of Banksy from the exhibit mentioned above.

The photos are from the 100% fake exhibit World of Banksy in Barcelona, still open at Espacio Trafalgar in the centre of the city:

Banksy makes t-shirt in support of defendants in the Colston case. 11 December 2021

In his own words:

“Next week the four people charged with pulling down Colston’s statue in Bristol are going on trial. I’ve made some souvenir shirts to mark the occasion. Available today 11th December from various outlets in the city (all proceeds to the defendants so they can go for a pint). One per person, £25 each plus VAT. Details on the Ujima Radio breakfast show from 9am.”

Photograph: @banksy on Instagram

A few hours later, the first Colston-tees started popping up at eBay at GBP 1,250.00 apiece.

At 4 PM, Banksy’s PR woman Jo Brooks communicated: “Banksy t-shirt drops in Bristol have now sold out.”

The Walled Off Hotel reopens. 4 December 2021

It has been closed for 20 months, but, today The Walled Off Hotel posted a hopeful message on Facebook:

“We are pleased to inform you that the hotel doors are open for visits and overnight stays as of today. The museum is still closed due to some maintenance work. Welcome everybody.”

The hotel´s website is receiving bookings again: https://walledoffhotel.com

There seem to be some novelties on the ground floor. The section with CCTV cameras has moved to the left of the reception, where the “Mediterranean Seaview” triptych hang before it was donated to charity. Another cool piece is the wood-carved model of Jerusalem’s Old Town made by the late Tawfiq Salsaa. The model was on display at Santas Ghetto 2007 and also at Banksy vs Bristol Museum in 2009.

The wood-carved model of Jerusalem by Tawfiq Salsaa. Photo: @walledoff – The Walled Off Hotel on Facebook

Banksy donates Oscar Wilde stencil to Reading Council. 4 December 2021

The donation was made public on 4 December at an exhibition curated by Grayson Perry at Bristol Museum. Banksy contributes with the original stencil to the piece he did on the wall of the Reading GAOL prison in March 2021. The idea is that Reading Council now sells the stencil and uses the proceeds to turn the derelict prison into a permanent art centre. It’s expected to fetch up to GBP 10 mn in a private sale.

In Banksy’s own words:

“I had very little interest in Reading until I was on a rail replacement bus service that went past the jail. It’s rare to find an uninterrupted 500m-long paintable surface slap bang in the middle of a town; I literally clambered over the passenger next to me to get a closer look. I promised myself I’d paint the wall even before I knew what it was. I’m passionate about it now, though. Oscar Wilde is the patron saint of smashing two contrasting ideas together to create magic. Converting the place that destroyed him into a refuge for art feels so perfect we have to do it.”

The Oscar Wilde stencil on display at Bristol Museum.

Banksy paints rat on the set of “The Outlaws”. 10 November 2021

“We can confirm that the artwork at the end of The Outlaws was an original Banksy, and that Christopher Walken painted over that artwork during the filming of this scene, ultimately destroying it,” a spokesperson for the BBC said.

The show is written and directed by Bristolian comedian Stephen Merchant and is filmed in Bristol.

From BBC’s website:

“The Outlaws, written and directed by Stephen Merchant, stars Hollywood veteran Walken as one of a group of minor criminals refurbishing a building for their community service. The last episode sees his character uncover the Banksy rat and two spray cans behind some wooden boards, and ask his supervisor if he should paint over it. The probation officer is looking the other way so doesn’t realise it’s a Banksy and tells him all graffiti must be painted over, which he does.” https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-59236187

Another trademark setback for Banksy. 19 May 2021

The EU’s trademark court, EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), ruled against Banksy’s struggle to protect his iconic images from being reproduced on shoddy merchandise.
The present case was about the Laugh Now image, which Banksy’s handling agent Pest Control Office (PCO) had registered as a trademark in November 2018. A year later, a UK-based greeting card company, Full Colour Black Limited, applied for the cancellation of the trademark. EUIPO has now ruled in favor of the greeting card company, and decided that the Laugh Now trademark is “invalid in its entirety.” In September 2020, EUIPO invalidated Love is in the Air (or, Flower Thrower) as a trademark. And there are more trademark disputes to come.

The main argument in the ruling is that a trademark holder must actively market and sell products with the trademark. EUIPO considers that Banksy and PCO haven’t done that: “From an examination of the evidence filed by both parties it would appear that, at the time of filing of the application for invalidity, the proprietor (or Banksy) had never actually marketed or sold any goods or services under the contested Trademark”. Banksy’s GDP selling exhibition in Croydon in October 2019 ( www.grossdomesticproduct.com ) was an attempt to prove to EUIPO that Banksy does indeed sell products under the disputed trademarks. But, EUIPO considers the GDP exhibition a way to circumvent the law, and not a genuine effort to sell trademarked goods.

The greeting card company didn’t waste much time after the EUIPO ruling. Screenshots from http://www.fullclourblack.com

In one of the sections in the ruling, EUIPO shows a clear lack of knowledge: EU’s trademark court alleges that Banksy, “for the most part paints graffiti on other people’s property rather than to paint it on canvases or his own property”. What about the 1000+ studio pieces, many of them canvases. Or, the printmaking, the art-shows, the pranks and the whole narrative?

Extract from a section of the EUIPO ruling where they show real lack of knowledge

Game Changer canvass sold for GBP 16.8 mn at Christie’s. 23 March 2021.

After a 20-minute bidding duel, the hammer landed at GBP 14,400,000. With the Buyers Premium, the buyer has to cough up GBP 16,758,000 – a new auction record for a Banksy canvass. The seller is NHS and the Southampton University Hospital, after receiving the piece in donation by Banksy. According to the lot sheet from Christie’s: “The proceeds will be used to support the wellbeing of University Hospital Southampton staff and patients.”

Well done Banksy!!