“One of the region’s most overrated artists” is how Bristol Museum describes the creator of its current show. Banksy gained notoriety for stencilled images left mainly on buildings, firstly in his hometown of Bristol. This show brings together images of graffiti but also sketches, paintings and animatronics – motorised sculptures. The exhibition has some clear political messages but definitely entertains whilst putting these across.
Banksy (who remains anonymous to the public and the staff at Bristol Museum) and his “people” took over the Edwardian building to hang the exhibition. A lot of the pieces share space with the permanent collection making the visit a little like a treasure hunt and visitors find themselves looking just as intently at mundane objects like waste bins etc. in an effort to identify all 100 exhibits.
“If you want to survive as a graffiti writer when you go indoors I figured your only option is to carry on painting over things that don’t belong to you there either” explains the artist whose recent paintings include bucolic scenes reminiscent of Constable with additions such as a clutch of cctv cameras or the biblical images such as the Flight to Egypt featuring Easy Jet hoardings.
The exhibition has seen 150,000 visitors in its first couple of weeks, queues are substantial so expect to wait 1-2hrs for entry, once in the viewing space is comfortable and entry is free. The show continues until 31 st August, 2009. Go to www.bristol.gov.uk/museums for up to date information.