14 June 2009
Banksy Hits Up the Bristol Museum
The iconoclastic graffiti artist Banksy unveils his largest project to date this weekend, when the doors of Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery are flung open to reveal that he has “remixed” the entire building. Renowned for infiltrating museum collections without their knowledge, Banksy has this time sought co-operation from the museum’s director and used it to install marble statues of drunken ladettes and paedophile bishops amid the columns of the three-storey Edwardian baroque building. A burnt-out ice-cream van replaces the usual information counter as a policeman in riot gear rocks perpetually on a fairground horse. The sound of chicken nuggets singing fills the vast rear hall, and a live leopardskin coat sleeps on a branch. Among the museum’s collection of old masters, an oil painting of parliament is now entirely populated by monkeys.
Elsewhere, the museum’s permanent collection has been infiltrated in more subtle ways — the vitrine holding locally produced pottery now shares space with a used hash pipe (also locally produced) and the life-size Bristol biplane suspended from the ceiling provides refuge for a Guantanamo Bay escapee.
Organised under tight security, the event has been kept secret from the museum’s entire staff and trustees, allowing the artist to work inside the venue, creating what promises to be the most exciting graffiti show held in a regional southwest museum this summer.
The exhibition is open daily, 10am-5pm, until August 31; admission free
***Words jacked from The Sunday Times***