The Null Device

Melbourne Council vandalises Banksy

Melbourne City Council workers have painted over a Banksy rat stencil in Hosier Lane, after the council neglected to tell them that the graffiti in the laneway (famous for its aerosol and stencil art) contained a priceless artwork among the graffiti.
Alexander said the city council would rush through retrospective permits to protect other famous or significant artworks in Australia's second-largest city. "In hindsight, we should have acted sooner to formally approve and protect all known Banksy works," she said.
I wonder what's happening there. Have anti-street-art factions seized control of the council and decided to whitewash all of Hosier Lane as a declaration of a Rudy Giuliani-style zero-tolerance policy? What would they have done had they known that the works of an internationally renowned (and valuable) artist were there? Would we have seen the bizarre spectacle of a white-painted laneway with a solitary Banksy rat in one corner? Of course, one of the quickest ways to condemn street art in Melbourne is to bless it with the imprimatur of official approval; Australian graffiti artists are, by and large, larrikins who have only contempt for the approval of officialdom:
Vandals created another outcry in 2008 when they poured paint over the artist's stencil of a diver in an old-fashioned helmet and wearing a trenchcoat. That work was afterwards protected by a sheet of clear perspex, although vandals struck again and poured silver paint behind the barrier, tagging it with the words "Banksy woz ere."

There are 3 comments on "Melbourne Council vandalises Banksy":

Posted by: Bowie Fri Apr 30 02:47:26 2010

The idea of protecting a Banksy work never clicked for me. The whole point is it is in a public place. I also felt they were temporary and meant to be temporary.

Posted by: gusset Fri Apr 30 08:24:18 2010

The same has happened in here in Bristol a couple of times, where Banksy work is protected by the council who have nothing but contempt for any other street art.

Posted by: datakid Sat May 1 01:20:22 2010

The first thing I thought was "that stencil is on the web, we should just make a new one and spray lots of them around".