Banksy graffiti feud given a fresh coat
by Alexandra Topping
23 April 2010
Banksy alters King Robbo ‘tag’ on Regent’s canal “¢ King Robbo retaliates but some cry publicity stunt
The history of art has been coloured by fierce and often glaringly public feuds between celebrated artists of the day. From Turner and Constable to Whistler and Ruskin, long-standing and public battles have kept generations of art lovers engrossed, outraged or simply amused.
But few artistic spats have been played out in such a public manner as the current standoff between Banksy, the internationally renowned bestselling graffiti artist, and King Robbo, one of the founding fathers of London’s graffiti scene.
The battle, which started on the banks of the Regent’s canal in the capital before Christmas, has stepped up a gear with the Bristolian apparently launching a new attack on King Robbo’s work.
The graffiti war was sparked before Christmas when an urban artist, thought to be Banksy, painted over a 25-year-old mural by King Robbo.
Hidden under a bridge on the canal and reachable only by water, the tag had been untouched since appearing beneath Camden Street in 1985 – until the artist bearing all Banksy’s hallmarks added a stencil of a workman plastering the wall with graffiti paper.
It wasn’t long before Robbo, who according to the Treehugger blog “had been ‘in retirement’ with no new work seen for years, surfaced to create a new work, out of revenge on his old rival”. The veteran graffitist, or perhaps his admirers, hit back, manipulating Banksy’s workman to make it look as though he was painting a tribute to King Robbo.
So far, so subtle. Until the most recent episode in the spat which apparently saw Banksy, who sold one of his works for £636,500 at Sotheby’s in 2008, add a poetically simple “Fuc” to the King Robbo tag. A new blast of retaliation is expected shortly.
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Previous post with photos of the Banksy/Robbo street war:
Other recent Banksy sightings: