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

On April 7, Banksy enters Natural History Museum disguised as an employee. He carries a taxidermied rat in a glass-fronted box. The rat wears sunglasses and a complete graffiti kit. Apparently, he 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 naming it “Pest Control Office”.

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Santa’s Ghetto 03. London, December 2003.

Santa’s Ghetto 2003 opened on December 2 in an abandoned store just off Carnaby Street in London. 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 and Alex James of Blur,  and star chef Jamie Oliver.

Photos: Wembley Pairs, Flickr

Prank at Tate Britain. London, October 2003.

On October 17, Banksy entered Tate Britain disguised as a pensioner and stuck one of his own 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.

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“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.”

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.”