Banksy at the Venice Biennale. 22 May 2019

Banksy hit the Venice Biennale uninvited with a contemporary message. In his own words on Instagram:

“Setting out my stall at the Venice Biennale. Despite being the largest and most prestigious art event in the world, for some reason I’ve never been invited.”

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The official clip of the prank:

Street artist in Venice / Banksyfilm

Shredding at Sotheby’s. 5 October 2018

From Sotheby’s web:

“In a moment that caught the art world by surprise, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon self-destructed just as the final hammer signaled the end of an evening of auctions in London. The work sold for £1,042,000 ($1.4 million), tying the artist’s record in pounds at auction previously achieved in 2008. The framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board depicted a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart shaped balloon – one of Banksy’s most iconic images – began to pass through a shredder hidden in the frame.” 

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Photo: Banksy’s Instagram

Days after the shredding, Banksy published the following two clips on his Youtube-channel:

Sotheby’s, October 5th 2018

Shredding the Girl and Balloon – The Director’s half cut

Banksy commemorates​ the Balfour Declaration. 2 November 2017.

The British government signed the Balfour Declaration on 2 November 1917, announcing support for establishing a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population. It read:

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Banksy commemorated the Balfour declaration with an apology on the segregation wall a few meters from his Walled Off Hotel and a small ceremony with a Queen Elizabeth impersonator.

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An official statement from Banksy read:

“This conflict has brought so much suffering to people on all sides – it didn’t feel appropriate to ‘celebrate’ the British role.  The British didn’t handle things well here. When you organise a wedding,” referring to the promise of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine, “it’s best to make sure the bride isn’t already married.”

Inside the Walled Off Hotel is an interesting museum on the situation created by the Balfour Declaration, curated by the Banksy team and Dr Gavin Grindon from Essex University.

Installation at Disneyland. September 2006.

Banksy entered Disneyland with an inflatable doll dressed as a Guantanamo detainee. He inflated the doll and placed it within the Thunder Mountain Railroad Ride. The doll remained there for 90 minutes before security guards removed the figure. The sequence was filmed and included in the film “Exit through the gift shop” a few years later.

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Prank at the Natural History Museum. London, April 2004.

On 7 April, Banksy entered Natural History Museum disguised as an employee. He carried a taxidermied rat in a glass-fronted box. The rat wears sunglasses and a complete graffiti kit. Apparently, the rat has sprayed “Our time will come” on the wall behind him. The installation comes with a printed explanation titled “Pest Control”. A few years later, Banky will set up his own certification office, the “Pest Control Office”.

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Prank at Tate Britain. London, October 2003.

On 17 October, Banksy entered Tate Britain disguised as a pensioner and stuck one of his creations in a vacant slot on one of the gallery’s walls. After a few hours, the painting, “Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us”, crashed to the floor, and the stunt was discovered. In his own words:

“To actually go through the process of having a painting selected must be quite boring. It’s a lot more fun to go and put your own one up. It’s all about cutting out the middle man, or the curator in the case of the Tate. I’m kinda into the message that vandalising a painting with police tape is how a lot of people see the world these days. People don’t actually see the world with Constable’s eyes with hay and rivers any more. The amount of paranoia and fear about violent crime and paedophilia makes mine a more accurate drawing of the English landscape we actually live in.”

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A caption glued next to the painting read: “This new acquisition is a beautiful example of the neo post-idiotic style. Little is known about Banksy whose work is inspired by cannabis resin and daytime television.”