banksy vs bristol

In homage to his hometown, Banksy has taken over Bristol City Museum for the summer. The anonymous guerilla artist’s work has been exhibited in New York and LA but as he said in a statement, “This is the first show I've ever done where taxpayers' money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off.” His subversive political street art has shown up all over the world, from Disneyland to the West Bank, most frequently in Bristol and East London, depicting the police, celebrities, and symbols of commercialism and authority in compromising positions.

The exhibit’s construction, like the artist’s identity, was veiled in secrecy: only four staff members were in the know. The museum was closed under the guise of routine maintenance while over 100 new and old pieces by Banksy invaded the entire Edwardian museum, sometimes placing Banksy’s updated versions of old masters—defaced portraits and tagged landscapes—alongside original paintings in their galleries. In addition to these and his token poignant stencil graffiti, the exhibit features many sculpture pieces, taking those installed at his Cans Festival this May to the next level. The main room houses an installation with lifelike mechanical animals performing ironic human feats, which makes a statement on animal rights by warping their roles as pets, entertainment, and food. A rabbit applies make up before a vanity, a gloomy and decrepit Tweety Bird mopes on his perch, a hen watches over its chicken nuggets hatchlings, a monkey paints a landscape, and hot dogs and sausages while away the time in their sand-floored cages.

With all its witty fanfare the free exhibit creates a veritable wonderland of rebellion. Check out Banksy setting it up here:

and a tour of the exhibit here:

Banksy vs Bristol City Museum
Queens Road, Bristol
June 13 to August 31
Open daily, 10 am to 5 pm

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