Friday, 7 December 2007



Museums, one would suppose, are a different matter. But this is where Banksy has made some spectacular strikes. His modus operandi is to modify an existing painting — whether a copy of a well-known masterpiece, or the low-grade art one might buy at a garage sale — as a “subverted artwork” and to sneak it into the collections of major museums and galleries.

In a single day, he managed by these means to “mount” his own work in no less than four major New York collections; the Louvre and the Tate Gallery have also been among his victims. Amazingly, although seen by plenty of baffled museum-goers, these installations escaped detection by the authorities for as long as two weeks.

In 2005, Banksy successfully sneaked a piece of fake rock-art into the Romano-British galleries of the British Museum. It showed a prehistoric hunter with a supermarket trolley.The painting, which remained unnoticed until Banksy posted a message on his website, accompanied a caption that stated: "This finely preserved example of primitive art dates from the Post-Catatonic era and is thought to depict early man venturing towards the out-of-town hunting grounds. The artist responsible is known to have created a substantial body of work across the southeast of England under the moniker Banksymus Maximus, but little else is known about him."