Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Banksy Splashed Out in Melbourne

Banksy Splashed Out in Melbourne

A work attributed to the world renowned graffiti artist known as Banksy has been destroyed in Melbourne, Australia. The image, known as the ‘Little Diver’, had been protected by a sheet of acrylic glass since 2007. Unfortunately, the sheet provided little defense against the individual(s) who destroyed the image in earlier this month.

The original image, which was stenciled in 2003, is no longer visible due to “vandals” pouring silver paint behind the protective sheet of acrylic glass. The destructive individuals then tagged ‘Banksy woz ere’ on the protective sheet. It was estimated that Little Diver-- before being destroyed-- was valued at over $400,000.

The defacement of ’Little Diver’ reminds one of the notorious Splasher who has been targeting works by Banksy, Anthony Lister, and other graffiti / street artists in New York City since late 2006. Could it be that Melbourne has their own ’Splasher’ now? Perhaps.

Some individuals have suggest that the destruction of famous graffiti / street works has become an art movement in its own right. There are also a number of conspiracy theories floating around-- such as individuals protecting their investment by having specific public works destroyed. In truth, we may never know why people to decide to destroy these works.

News of destroyed works by celebrated graffiti artists and popular street artists are becoming common place. Banksy is not the only target-- street works by Shepard Fairey are becoming a popular target as well. These stories are often filled with irony. For example, why is it that the destroyers of the work are considered ‘vandals’ by the media? After all, in most cases these artists create their art in areas that are considered illegal to do so. Thus, one could say that their art walks hand-in-hand with vandalism. Perhaps fame and a price tag dictates what is vandalism and what is not? Thoughts?

Link of Interest:

The Splasher

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor


Anonymous said...

Street artists today are corporate made. The guys back in the 80s did not have books written about them after just a year or two of being known. All of these guys are funded so that they can sell items to foolish consumers who would not know real street art if it was painted on their car. Street art is not about being on the cover of Time Magazine and it is not about being featured in video games either. Street art today is a scam.

Anonymous said...

This fad comes into play every 20 years. If you look at recent art history there is always a focus on street art just before a new wave of art. Street artists shine when the market is broken. When the market is good they will be lucky to be featured in an underground art rag.

Anonymous said...

According to Wikipedia:

The splashings continued until June 2007, when James Cooper, 24, was arrested at an art opening in Brooklyn for trying to set off a stink bomb from a coffee can at an art opening for Shepard Fairey. Cooper was charged with third-degree arson, reckless endangerment, placing a false bomb, criminal possession of a weapon, harassment and disorderly conduct. Two days after his release, a group of individuals distributed a 16-page manifesto at another Fairey art opening entitled If we did it this is how it would’ve happened. The manifesto stated the motives of the group behind The Splasher:

“By challenging what the experts term 'street art', our actions have, in turn, uncovered an alliance between the coercive force of the state and the "creative class" of the artist.”

The authors linked the street art movement to furthering gentrification in New York neighborhoods.