The Banksy Cover Up

Whilst a nightclub in Brighton has sold it’s Banksy for £200,000 up here the council have covered up the largest graffiti Banksy ever did.

Via the Echo:

Row escalates over cover-up of graffiti artist Banksy’s 30ft rat
Jan 10 2008 by Liza Williams

AN ART festival director has defended Liverpool Culture Company’s decision to cover up part of a public artwork at the start of 2008, saying the mural still looks “fantastic”.

Britain’s biggest creation by renowned graffiti artist Banksy adorns The White Horse pub, on the edge of the city’s China Town on Berry Street, and is regularly snapped by tourists.

But the bottom half has been covered up by the Culture Company with hoardings because the building has fallen into disrepair.

Some visitors to the city have complained the wooden supports are covering up an interesting and exciting piece of art at a time when Liverpool should be capitalising on such pieces.

But programme director for Liverpool Biennial, Laurie Peake, said: “I was actually pleasantly surprised by how it has been dealt with. I think it still looks fantastic and I do not see what else they could have done.”

The mural of a 30ft rat was created in 2004 during the Biennial festival and although the art event did not commission the work it was widely incorporated into the celebrations.

The Bansky rat

A Liverpool Culture Company spokeswoman said: “The Banksy rat is being covered because we are striving to improve the appearance of high-profile grot spots.

“Since the Biennial, it has been preserved as much as possible with painting – but the bottom half of has been falling into disrepair. The decision was made that it was beyond repair and we felt we had no choice but to erect the hoardings.

“We consulted with figures in the city’s artistic community before taking this action and believe we have found the best possible solution in terms of preserving what we could of the artwork.”

Event management specialists Purple Revolver, who are hosting an urban art festival this year, think the action is short-sighted.

Director Amber Tan said: “Instead of covering up a real tourist attraction, they should be shouting about the fact that Liverpool has got the biggest piece of Banksy graffiti in the country.

“They should be preserving it – it’s not hard to touch it up with a lick of paint.

“You can often see people stopping to take pictures of it. There is no reason why the graffiti could not be worked into any future renovation scheme for this building.”

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