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Label: vandalism

Wednesday 04th March 2015Germany's Last Banksy Defaced

For a long, long time, street art struggled to shake off the public perception that it was nothing more than flagrant vandalism with a coat of paint. With the help of a large and dedicated community, along with more prominent individual artists such as Banksy who have grown into almost household names, street art is finally beginning to be accepted as a legitimate art form, one who may be more true to the emotive and impactful nature of art that much of what is being produced in more traditional art spheres.

Sometimes, however, it's impossible to shake off the reality that vandalism, graffiti and street art all share a common root and may suffer the same ills. This was never more true than last month, when the last surviving piece of street art by Banksy in Germany was defaced by a vandal. The piece, a stencil entitled 'Bomb Hugger', found on a concrete pillar in Hamburg, had actually been protected by a local arts group, the Spiegelberger Foundation, in 2011 to prevent just this sort of casual destruction. A piece of clear plexiglass was riveted around the edges of the work, preventing most of the potential damages, but the clever vandal figured out a way around this - using spray paint. The word 'graffiti' was spray painted thickly just above the upper edge of the plexiglass, so thickly that paint dripped down from the letters and seeped in behind the cover to drip down over the stencil itself  

While there is a certain frustrating yet undeniable irony that the vandal spray painted the word 'graffiti', some small voice in the back of the mind wonders if this might not be a stunt by Banksy himself in response to the sudden fame that has found him. Alternatively, now that Banksy pieces are becoming quite valuable to collectors, it's possible that someone is attempted to drive up the value of their own pieces by destroying others that are outside of the traditional protections afforded to most artwork by galleries and their accompanying security staff.

It's hard to tell if it's casual insensitivity, a calculated plot, or who knows what, but inexplicable the Hamburg police department insists that the piece was undamaged by the vandalism, although it appears now that the majority of the blue spraypaint has been removed and the piece has been restored as much as possible.
 
 

Posted on March 04th 2015 on 05:00pm
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