The third book – “Cut it Out”. December, 2004.

Cut it Out was the last of the three little black books. It has some interesting street art, loads of rats, and a few lovely canvases. Among them is “Suicide bombers just need a hug” from the Turf War exhibition.

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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Street Art 2004. Focus on UK.

London was the main focus of street art activity in 2004. But, also two pieces in Brighton and two in Somerset. There were only two pieces outside the UK in 2004, one documented in Berlin and another in Chicago. One of Banksy’s most iconic pieces goes up in Southbank: “The girl with the red balloon”.

Photos: “Wall and piece”.

Santa’s Ghetto 03, London. December 2003

Santa’s Ghetto 2003 opened on 2 December in an abandoned store just off Carnaby Street in London. It contained work by Banksy, Jamie Hewlett, Mode 2 and 3D, among others. Described by Pictures on Walls as a “festive extravaganza of cheap art and related novelty goods from lowbrow artists and trained vandals”. The launch party attracted Damon Albarn, Alex James of Blur, and star chef Jamie Oliver.

Photos: Wembley Pairs, Flickr

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.”

Turf War, London. July 2003

The show opened on 18 July and lasted for three days. Turf War displayed a great variety of genres, techniques and styles. It marked the beginning of a string of brilliant exhibitions with a periodicity of approximately two years: Turf War in 2003, Crude Oils in 2005, Barely Legal in 2006, Banksy vs Bristol Museum in 2009, etc. The London art critics called the exhibition one of the most interesting of the year.

Photos: and Benny Goh

ITV recorded this interview from the exhibitions—one of the few documented footage of a member of Team Banksy.