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You will remember, of course, my email to you on 15 April about that tremendous piece of Banksy artwork in Cheltenham. As I was writing that email the page linked at top appeared on the BBC website, but I never saw it until recently. In addition, I’ve only just discovered why the Cheltenham artwork was not certain (at the time) to be a Banksy. All will soon become clear.
The Cheltenham artwork--now dubbed “Spy Booth” & confirmed much later by Banksy as one of his--appeared behind the telephone box on Fairview Road on Sunday 13 April 2014. The following day the artwork above appeared on the Banksy website (also linked above - get to your local library so that you can look at it. I’ve not seen it before, but it is one of those must-see sites; this is from the current home page):
(you can now understand why the Cheltenham artwork had a question mark against it at first:- “Mobile Lovers” featured on his website, so was immediately known as a Banksy, but “Spy Booth” did not)
It seems that the first thought for many people when a new Banksy appears is “How much money can I make from this?” The first thought for many others is “How can I ruin it?”. A fortnight ago the Cheltenham mural was attacked yet again (it has been daubed with graffiti, then fitted with a Perspex cover; that cover was removed, then possibly an attempt was begun to try to remove the artwork from the wall, as 4 holes were drilled into the concrete around the mural).
A similar story has occurred with Mobile Lovers. It was painted on plywood, or something similar, then fixed with screws within an unused door in a stone wall at the far end of Clement Street (if you use “Clement Street, Bristol, BS2 9ES” as your search-string in Google, then go to Street View in Maps, then you should be able to find it. This astonishing url may be able to show it to you in one go). The Broad Plains Boys Club is close to that door, although it has no other connection (other than an urgent need for some money). Everyone going to the club would go past the artwork.
Mobile Lovers appeared on the Banksy web-site on Monday & was discovered & photographed by a fan at 10pm. The next morning 2 men from the club removed it with a crowbar. More amazing than that, they managed to rationalise to themselves that Banksy wanted them to do that (roll-eyes):
(that is not how you spell vandalism!)
There is an upshot to the above, which is why I spotted all this in the first place:
Mobile Lovers has just been sold to a private collector - we shall know for how much later today.
Naturally, it has caused a vast kerfuffle, and I think that Banksy himself must love all this stuff.
The police turn up at the boys club (who knew that they were art lovers?)
Dennis proved himself adept at PR by producing a large (though not full-size) photo of Mobile Lovers and pinning that up on the original door with a printed notice on what is happening. He also arranged with the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to display the artwork (visitor numbers increase!).
--------- Alex Kemp