Banksy Pranksy

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Cheeky artist upstages Banksy
June 18, 2009

Adam Mclevey Banksy PrankOne of the problems with Banksy’s new exhibition at Bristol Museum is that it’s so vast and eclectic, it’s hard to keep track of all the exhibits.

Weston-super-Mare artist Adam Mclevey realised this gave him the opportunity to devise his own guerrilla art event – all in the spirit of Banksy.

Adam decided to sneak his own artwork into the museum, and place it among the new Banksys.

But it’s difficult to be covert when the piece in question measures 2ft by 3ft.

“I queued up and carried the painting in with me on the opening day,” the 33-year-old said. “Amazingly, none of the security guards questioned the fact that I was carrying this big package into the museum.

“Once inside I made my way to the caged monkey in the animatronic hall, noisily unwrapped the painting, and slipped it into the monkey’s cage.

“I then made a quick exit before anyone really had the chance to notice what I’d done. Though I think the monkey noticed.

“Apparently members of the public alerted security guards shortly afterwards, but when they arrived on the scene they couldn’t work out which bit was my work and which bit was Banksy, so they left it.”

The painting in question, entitled Typo, is suitably Banksyesque in style – painted in acrylic, enamel and ink, it depicts a monkey chained to a typewriter.

The piece continued to go unnoticed by museum staff over the weekend but on Tuesday it was retrieved from the cage, and sportingly hung on a nearby wall, with the caption: “New acquisition, artist unknown”.

But museum staff are keen to point out that while this may be funny once, any attempt to repeat the prank would see the joke wearing thin.

Bristol City Council press officer Helen Hewitt said: “We would ask that people don’t start trying to copy this, because it’s just going to create a lot of work for the museum staff at a time when they already have a lot on their plates.”

Neither Banksy nor a spokesman were available to comment yesterday.

Adam said: “I’m a big fan of Banksy, and I meant no harm to his work. If anything, it was a homage. Banksy himself has done this to other peoples’ exhibitions in the past, so I thought why not do it to Banksy himself.

“It could become tedious if everyone started doing it, but I think security will now be increased on the door. That’s a shame in a way, but if it stops somebody bringing something dangerous into the museum that could damage a Banksy or put the visitors at risk, then I think I’ve probably done a very good thing.”

Read more Banksy stories here