Banksy says favourite work of art is in Glasgow
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The most famous graffiti artist in the world will return to Glasgow for a retrospective exhibition spanning 25 years of his work. Banksy’s association with the city stretches back to at least 2001 when a Peace is Tough exhibition included early work including Monkey Queen. There’s still the faint imprint of a Banksy stencil on Midland Street, outside where The Arches entrance once was.
There was an attempt in 2018 to restore a mural inside Platform at The Arches of Mona Lisa surrounded by a picture frame, a gun-toting monkey wearing a tutu, and the words “Every time I hear the word culture, I release the safety on my 9mm” written between them. It had been painted over with grey emulsion paint after the Peace is Tough exhibition.
In Banksy’s first collection of graffiti, Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, published in 2001, there is a photograph of a stencil entitled Cheeky Monkey outside The Garage on Sauchiehall Street outside Mr Chips.
Then, in Banksy’s book Wall and Piece from 2005, he included a photograph of the Duke of Wellington statue outside of Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art alongside a picture of his own work, The Drinker.
Banksy said: “If you want someone to be ignored then build a lifesize bronze statues of them and stick it in the middle of town. It doesn’t matter how great you were, it’ll always take an unfunny drunk with climbing skills to make people notice you.”
Now, Banksy will display the stencils used to create some of the artist’s most famous works at an exhibition in GoMA, spanning his work from 1988 to the present day. The exhibition, 25 years Card Labour, includes “authentic artefacts, ephemera and the artist’s actual toilet.”
Banksy said “I’ve kept these stencils hidden away for years, mindful they could be used as evidence in a charge of criminal damage. But that moment seems to have passed, so now I’m exhibiting them in a gallery as works of art. I’m not sure which is the greater crime.”
It opens on Sunday and will run for three months, possibly touring after that.
As part of the show, Banksy outlines why Glasgow and specifically the Gallery of Modern Art at Royal Exchange was chosen for the officially sanctioned exbibition’s debut.
The artist says: “Welcome. If nothing else, you’re going to see one masterpiece today - you just walked by it.
“For anyone who isn’t aware - the statue out the front has had a cone on its head continuously for the past 40 odd years. Despite the best efforts of the council and police, every time one is removed another takes its place.
“This might sound absurd and pretentious (just wait until you see the rest of the exhibition) but it’s my favourite work of art in the UK and the reason I’ve brought the show here.”
Tickets are available at cutandrun.co.uk.