banksy in bristol city museum

Banksy vs Bristol Museum
13.06 - 31.08.2009
Bristol Museum

banksy vs bristol museum by you.

Five minutes after arriving at the exhibition venue, I asked myself, "Am I queuing for Space Mountain in Dinseyland?"

There are fencings outside the Bristol City Museum with papers stating "2 hours wait from here", "1.5 hours wait from here" etc. The girls in front of me in the queue drove from Bradford, and I am sure there are quite a lot of visitors to the show are from outside Bristol.

banksy vs bristol museum by you.
Uncle Old McDonald sitting above the entrance of the museum

banksy vs bristol museum by you.
Lots of people from all over the country come to see the works of a street-art genius

Full photo set here

Many people should have visited the show by now. And if you have not yet done so, you probably should hurry up because the queues would only get longer & longer with the final day of the show counting down in 3 weeks' time.

You don't see people having the need to read any explanation notes or joining a guided tour for the show. Everybody's faces turns up a light smile or full eye open once they could finally enter the entrance and see all the works by British's most famous graffiti 'artist' (he probably is qualified as the top 20 most recognisable name in the UK). This, is the power of Banksy.

His power to connect everyday life and common people through his works is magical. You could immediately get what he want to say on most occasions - his works does not need a title to explain what it is about, just like what he painted on streets have no formal title. They are meant to be part of the urban fabric, nothing different from pedestrains on the streets, shopfronts along high streets and the seagulls flying over the river & canals. They reflect the everyday life of this country (not just London, as almost none of his works have any specific geographical reference to the city).

His work is more than a graffiti logo/signature. A logo cannot communicate so much to the general public. And the locations he picked to put his works up are strategic to generate debates and public awareness. And he does not only remain in his own circle - he expands into the public (and legal) realm. He participates in joint venture projects like Cans Festival, and contacts the Bristol City Museum to initiate this exhibition. All these events are hugely successful and create a media storm internationally. The commitment he made on all these has shown that he seems to have more to give the society other than promoting his own fame.

banksy vs bristol museum by you.
Everybody is taking photos and contributing to the Banksy phenomenon

Looking at the current art world, graffiti art has been employed by fashion houses and enterprises to market their merchandise to the young generation. While some people say that graffiti art has been high-jacked for commercialism, would it be more appropriate to say that graffiti has finally been formally recognised as a form of art which reflects its zeitgeist?

A few clips showing what it is like inside the show in terms of exhibits and people's reaction in the central halls -

Two more graffiti outside the museum in the city -

banksy in bristol . 01 by you.
The street warrior aiming at the pedestrains

banksy in bristol . 03 by you.
The graffiti attracted vandalism itself

Further Reading - - official website for the exhibition
Banksy's stencil collection online
Report from BBC news, 12.06.2009 (with video link)
Review from Suit Yourself Magazine of Bristol
Review from the Independent by Steven Wright, 13.06.2009
Review from the Telegraph by Serena Davies, 15.06.2009
"Banksy was here, the invisible man of graffiti art" by Lauren Collins for the New Yorker 14.05.2007

Update - Banksy insisted CCTV footage was destroyed from the Times, 13.08.2009 (via @banksynews)