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Banksy: Charles Manson Hitchhiking Somewhere (2005); Archway , London

Banksy [ bæŋkzi ] (* probably in 1974 in Bristol , England ) is the pseudonym of a British Street art - artist . His stencil graffiti first became known in Bristol and London . Through his international activities, he gained worldwide fame. Banksy tries to keep his real name and identity a secret.


Banksy in Bethlehem (2007)
Balloon Girl , London

Banksy uses the tactics of the communication guerrilla , especially his sources of inspiration (such as that of the French pochoir artist Blek le Rat ) and those of the adbusters to offer an alternative perspective on political and economic issues. He often changes and modifies familiar motifs and images. He took on commissioned work for charity (e.g. for Greenpeace ) and designed a number of CD covers, including a. for the Wall of Sound label and in 2003 for the band Blur . As an artist, he has so far worked in countries such as Australia , France , Germany , Great Britain , Israel , Italy , Jamaica , Japan , Canada , Cuba , Mali , Mexico , Austria , the Palestinian Territories , Spain and the USA .

In addition to implementing stencil graffiti, Banksy has also installed his own work in museums without authorization. In 2005, his works hung in this way in London's Tate Modern , New York Museum of Modern Art , Metropolitan Museum of Art , Brooklyn Museum , American Museum of Natural History and the Louvre . In May 2005, Banksy's version of a cave painting depicting a man hunting with a shopping cart was found in the British Museum .

From 1999 onwards, Banksy showed his works mostly in self-organized exhibitions, as he tends to reject galleries and the art business in general. The first solo exhibition took place in 2000 in the Severnshed restaurant in Bristol. Among other things, the well-known series of images Simple Intelligence Testing in Dumb Animals was shown . In the Turf-War exhibition in 2003 in a London warehouse, a. to see live animals painted by him. In 2006, the Banksy exhibition Barely Legal took place in Los Angeles , again in a warehouse, which attracted 30,000 visitors. His exhibition Banksy vs. Bristol Museum attracted 308,719 visitors in just six weeks in 2009. The rejection of the art business was also demonstrated by an action in New York in October 2013, in which pictures were sold to ignorant laypeople at bargain prices.

In 2002, in east London, he used stencils in black and red to spray a girl making a heart-shaped balloon fly away. Balloon Girl was cut out of the wall of a shop and fetched 500,000 pounds (around 560,000 euros) at auction  . In a survey of 2000 participants for Samsung TV in July 2017, the picture was voted the favorite picture of the British. Banksy copied or varied his Graffiti Girl with Balloon from 2002 in several variants as a wall painting. The Girl with Balloon has entered the collective memory of the British and the art world, and it has a high recognition value even when it is alienated.

In 2002 he sprayed for the first time in Germany, namely in Hamburg , both in the city area and as part of the Urban Discipline exhibition. In 2003 he returned to Germany to spray both legally and unauthorized as part of the exhibition Backjumps - The Live Issues initiated by Adrian Nabi . His legal work at Künstlerhaus Bethanien , entitled “Every Picture Tells a Lie”, shows police officers with wings in battle gear and smiley faces. In 2011, as part of an artistic campaign by the American street artist Brad Downey , it was exposed again under different layers of paint.

In September 2006 he edited the debut album Paris by Paris Hilton with DJ Danger Mouse and distributed 500 copies of this fake in various British record stores. Danger Mouse changed the music with original compositions and Banksy changed the artwork . Among other things, he showed Hilton's body with a dog's head. The pieces consist of simple rhythms with Hilton's exclamations ("That's hot!"). Also in September 2006, Banksy installed a doll modeled on a Guantanamo prisoner at Disneyland Resort .

Banksy's work Slavery (2012), which shows a boy using a sewing machine to sew several Union Jacks together to form a flag chain, was the subject of reports in February 2013. It was removed from its original location, a Poundland supermarket wall in Haringey , and was due for auction in Miami . Haringey residents demonstrated for the work to be returned. The auction was canceled. There was a discussion in the media about the property rights of street art .

Banksy's spray work in public spaces is already protected from destruction under Plexiglas, for example in Hamburg. Nevertheless, the plexiglass pane did not prevent the Bomb Hugger plant in Hamburg from being badly damaged in February 2015 .

In October 2013, Banksy stayed in New York City for a month and turned the whole city into a gallery and art circus arena . During this action called Better Out Than In , a new Banksy work appeared every day. One of the things that caused a stir was an October 13 campaign in which an elderly gentleman sold real Banksy work, estimated to be worth an estimated $ 32,000, in front of the Metropolitan Museum for just $ 60.

In 2015, Banksy released the video from the Gaza Strip, "This year you can discover a new destination" ("Make this the year YOU discover a new destination."), In which he satirically alludes to the destruction in the area.

In March 2017, Banksy opened The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem , which is located directly on the border wall between Israel and the West Bank . Banksy designed the interior of the hotel with numerous references to the Middle East conflict and everyday life at the barrier. The latter contributes to the “worst view in the world” that the hotel advertises. The hotel is also aimed at tourists from Israel.

On May 7, 2017, he installed a Brexit work of art on a house wall in Dover . A square EU flag several meters high was depicted on it, from which a craftsman standing on a ladder is chiseling a star. On August 26, 2019, the media reported the disappearance of the artwork. The wall had been whitewashed. It is currently not known whether the work of art was simply painted over or destroyed.

In June 2018, critical works appeared in Paris on dealing with refugees .

In October 2018, the lower half of his Girl With Balloon picture "destroyed" itself with a clean strip cut immediately after it was sold for a good million pounds (1.18 million euros) at a Sotheby’s auction in London by removing the lower part of the picture a shredder hidden in the frame was pulled. Banksy had announced that it was criticism of the art market. A video stated that the entire picture was originally supposed to be destroyed, but this was prevented by a faulty construction of the shredder. The buyer took over the picture anyway at the offered price. It was renamed Love is in the Bin . In January 2019, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart announced that the owner would give her the picture on permanent loan from March 2019.

Season's Greetings, Port Talbot, Wales

Just before Christmas 2018, he was spraying graffito on two sides of a steelworker's garage in Port Talbot , Wales . One side shows a winter-clad boy with a sledge and outstretched arms, who is catching snowflakes with his tongue out. The other side of the garage shows a dark cloud of smoke with white ash particles rising from a burning container . Only when looking at both sides of the building does the supposed snow reveal itself as a shower of ash. The motif, which appears to be wintry, is rated as a socially critical statement, as the largest steelworks in Great Britain is located in the place and there are complaints from residents about a persistent ash rain. After the discovery, the work of art was given a temporary cover to protect against vandalism and was supervised by security services. About 20,000 people made the pilgrimage to the garage to look at it. At the beginning of 2019, it was announced that the garage owner had sold the work of art to a gallery owner from Essex, southeast England, for a six-figure sum. In order to stimulate tourism in the structurally weak industrial city, the gallery owner wants to leave the work of art in Port Talbot for two years, but show it elsewhere.

At the beginning of 2019, a picture of a veiled woman looking sadly at the ground, life-size painted white on black on a fire door in the Parisian club Bataclan was stolen. Presumably, the door hinges were cut with an angle grinder. In June 2020, the picture was seized on a farm in Italy and 6 suspects were arrested.

In 2019, shortly after the opening of the Venice Biennale, a graffito was discovered on a house wall by a canal in Venice showing a child with a life jacket and a sea ​​torch in a raised hand. Banksy claimed the work for himself by posting two photos on his Instagram account. There he also posted a video according to which he had set up a street stall with several paintings near St. Mark's Square during the Biennale. The images combine to form a large cruise ship passing by in front of the backdrop of Venice and are titled "Venice in Oil", which can be interpreted as an allusion to the pollution caused by cruise ships.

Another picture of Banksy appeared in Birmingham in late 2019. It shows two flying reindeer on a brick wall, which seem to be pulling a real park bench next to it. In a video that Banksy posted on Instagram, a homeless man named Ryan is lying on the bench. Banksy wrote: “God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench, passers-by gave him a warm drink, two candy bars and a lighter - without even asking for them. ”The video was viewed millions of times in no time after it was released. A few days later, strangers painted red noses on the reindeer.

In early 2020, a new picture of Banksy was discovered in Bristol. A girl can be seen on the gray wall of a house, aiming a slingshot at a large blob of red roses. The motif was interpreted as a romantic gesture for Valentine's Day .

In May 2020, the painting Game Changer , which Banksy claimed on his Instagram account, was hung in a hospital in Southampton . The painting shows a little boy playing with the figure of a nurse as the new superhero in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and is due to be auctioned in the fall of 2020 for the benefit of the National Health Service .

Record auction

In October 2019, his 2.5 m high and 4.2 m wide painting Devolved Parliament fetched the record sum of 9.9 million pounds (11 million euros) at a Sotheby’s auction. It was thus bought by an unknown bidder for five times the value it had been estimated by Sothebys. First exhibited in 2009 in Banksy's hometown of Bristol, the picture shows the British House of Commons occupied by chimpanzees instead of politicians. Although Banksy is no longer the owner of the painting, having sold it back in 2011, he has been considered one of the most expensive current artists in the world since that auction.

Writings on the work

Banksy has self-published books which, with his comments, contain images of his work from different countries as well as some of his paintings. His first book, Banging your head against a brick wall , was published in black and white, and his second book, Existencilism, in color. His third book, Cut it out, followed in 2004 . Banksy combined and expanded the majority of the works from three small “black books” in 2006 at Random House under the title Wall and Piece .



Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop is a 2010 documentary about French street artist and filmmaker Thierry Guetta , who ismakinga documentary about hisgraffiticousin, Invader , and thereby Meet Banksy. He convinced Guetta to act as a graffiti artist himself, and Banksy took over the direction of the documentary from now on. Thus the perspective changes, and a film about an artist becomes a documentary about a director who becomes an artist. Exit through the Gift Shop was shown at the Sundance Film Festival 2010 and the Berlinale 2010 and received an Oscar nomination in2011in the category Best Documentary . The film was broadcast on January 15, 2013 on the Bavarian Radio Television.


Dismaland , 2015
  • In 2015, Banksy created the parody of an amusement park with the temporary Dismaland in a former lido in the western English city of Weston-super-Mare .
  • The Moco Museum in Amsterdam showed the museum works by Banksy under the title since the opening Laugh now from April 2016 to April 1, 2020th
  • Lilley Fine Art / Contemporary Art Gallery showed the exhibition BANKSY Genius or Vandal in Cordoaria Nacional , Lisbon from June 14th to October 27th, 2019.
  • Immersion Vegas shows the exhibition BANKSY Genius or Vandal until April 5, 2020.

Works in public collections



In 2012, photographer Nick Stern recreated eight of Banksy's most famous motifs with models.

In 2014, the city council of the English city of Clacton-on-Sea had a work by Banksy painted over, which was viewed as racist. The picture shows on the one hand gray pigeons known in England with signs on which z. B. it says that migrants are not welcome or that they should go back to their country. On the other side sits a single green bird. The image was supposed to criticize, not stir up, racism.

Political activities

To save shipwrecked refugees from drowning and before pushing their rubber boats back to Libya , Banksy financed the rescue ship Louise Michel . On August 28, 2020, the 27-knot ship started from the Spanish port of Burriana for its operational area in the Mediterranean . The Louise Michel is designed with motifs by Banksy in light pink colors.


Web links

Commons : Banksy  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Photo galleries

Individual evidence

  1. Who is Banksy? In: from October 26, 2018.
  2. Ulrich Blanché: Something to s (pr) ay: The Street Artivist Banksy: An art-historical investigation . Tectum-Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-8288-2283-2 , p. 121 . (engl.)
  3. Ulrich Blanché: Consumer Art . Culture and Commerce at Banksy and Damien Hirst . See chapter: Banksy's Art Actions and Travel .
  4. Ulrich Blanché: Something to s (pr) ay: The Street Artivist Banksy: An art-historical investigation . Tectum-Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-8288-2283-2 , p. 95 .
  5. Ulrich Blanché: Banksy: Urban art in a material world . Tectum-Verlag, 2016, ISBN 978-3-8288-3541-2 , p. 223-227 .
  6. Ulrich Blanché: Something to s (pr) ay: The Street Artivist Banksy: An art-historical investigation . Tectum-Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-8288-2283-2 , p. 49 .
  7. Ulrich Blanché: Consumer Art . Culture and Commerce at Banksy and Damien Hirst. Detailed exhibition listing attached . P. 350.
  8. ^ Martin Newman: Banksy sells original paintings worth £ 20,000 for £ 38 each in New York stunt. In: Daily Mirror . October 13, 2013, accessed November 2, 2013 .
  9. Banksy's “Balloon Girl” favorite work of art by the British ,, July 26, 2017, accessed July 26, 2017.
  10. a b Frank Keil: Street Art under Plexiglas. ART CONCEPT A real Banksy hangs on a street corner in downtown Hamburg. In: TAZ (the daily newspaper) Nord. 29./30. June 2013, p. 45 (quote: “In 2002, the British street artist Banksy (his first name is sometimes traded as Rob, Robin or Robert) was supposed to spend time at the Urban Discipline Festival in Hamburg and here on a gray, functional concrete pillar have attached their stencil. ").
  11. a b STREET ART Hamburg's last Banksy behind acrylic glass. In: Hamburger Abendblatt. August 6, 2011 (Quote: “The last work of art still visible in Hamburg by street artist Banksy, 'Bomb-Hugger' in Steinwegpassage (Neustadt), has recently been protected from improper handling by an acrylic glass panel.").
  12. Julia Reinecke: Street Art: A Subculture Between Art and Commerce . 1st edition. Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2007, ISBN 978-3-89942-759-2 , p. 6 ( full text in Google Book Search).
  13. Os Gêmeo's interview., April 9, 2010, accessed on July 1, 2013 : “ Urban Discipline has actually been one of the first and still largest gallery exhibitions ever to have perfectly and successfully combined graffiti art, style and professional presentation . For many this event was an important step for more, Daniel Man , DAIM and also Banksy! "
  14. Mirko Reisser , Gerrit Peters , Heiko Zahlmann (eds.): Urban Discipline 2002: Graffiti-Art . 1st edition. Urban Discipline: Graffiti Art, No. 3 . getting-up , Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-00-009421-0 , p. 80 ff . ( Full text in the Google book search - exhibition catalog).
  15. Ulrich Blanché: Consumer Art . Culture and Commerce at Banksy and Damien Hirst. Detailed biography with all sources in the appendix. P. 356 f.
  16. ^ Adrian Nabi , Don M. Zaza : Backjumps - The Live Issue # 3: urban communication and aesthetics (catalog for the Backjumps - The Live Issue # 3 exhibition, from June 23 to August 19, 2007 in the Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien in Berlin). 1st edition, From here to Fame, Berlin (2008) ISBN 978-3-937946-27-6 ( online in Google Book Search )
  17. feb / dpa : Banksy, freed from foreign color. Spiegel Online , September 12, 2011, accessed January 2, 2012 .
  18. (Engl.)
  19. ^ Artist Banksy targets Disneyland. British Broadcasting Corporation , September 11, 2006, accessed November 2, 2013 .
  20. Gabi Biesinger: Banksy's sewing boy will not go under the hammer. , February 24, 2013, archived from the original on February 26, 2013 ; Retrieved November 2, 2013 .
  21. Banksy's 'Slave Labor' mural taken from wall and put on US art auction website for £ 450,000. Daily Mail , February 18, 2013, accessed November 27, 2019 .
  22. Christopher Pramstaller: Unknown destroys Germany's last Banksy. Sü , February 24, 2015, accessed on February 24, 2015 .
  23. When the Sphinx of Giza is stolen in Queens in FAZ of October 25, 2013, page 37.
  24. Carolin Gasteiger: Satirical video. Banksy's greeting from Gaza. In: . February 26, 2015, accessed March 1, 2015.
  25. ^ Peter Munich: Banksy in Gaza. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , No. 49, February 28 / March 1, 2015, ISSN  0174-4917 , p. 18.
  26. Sofia Glasl: Man with a Mask. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, No. 99 of 29./30. April / 1. May 2017, p. 65.
  27. ^ Emma Graham-Harrison: 'Worst view in the world': Banksy opens hotel overlooking Bethlehem wall . In: The Guardian . March 3, 2017, ISSN  0261-3077 (English, [accessed March 4, 2017]).
  28. Banksy leaves Brexit artwork in Dover. In: Courier . May 8, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2017 .
  29. Banksy's Brexit picture in Dover is gone. In: August 26, 2019. Retrieved August 28, 2017 .
  30. Nadja Al-Khalaf: Criticism of the refugee policy of the French government. In: Zett . June 25, 2018, accessed July 1, 2018 .
  31. pbe: Hidden shredder in picture frames: Banksy artwork destroyed itself after auction. In: Spiegel Online . October 6, 2018, accessed October 7, 2018 .
  32. Banksy auction prank leaves art world in shreds., October 6, 2018, accessed October 6, 2018 .
  33. Banksy video shows plan to shred entire Girl With Balloon artwork., October 18, 2018, accessed February 4, 2018 .
  34. News Radio SRF 1, October 11, 2018 ( Memento from October 12, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  35. Adrienne Braun: Interview with the head of the State Gallery The coup with the shredder picture . In: Stuttgarter Zeitung . January 25, 2019.
  36. New Banksy graffiti discovered in Wales in Der Spiegel on December 22, 2018.
  37. Garage owner sells Banksy plant for six-figure sum in Monopoly on January 18, 2019.
  38. lsg / dpa: gallery owner buys Banksy work for six figures and it does not accept with . In: Welt Online . 18th January 2019.
  39. Theft of Banksy paintings: Six arrests, June 27, 2020, accessed June 27, 2020.
  40. mhe / dpa: Banksy is committed to the second work of art in Venice . In: Der Spiegel . May 25, 2019.
  41. Red noses appear on Banksy's Birmingham homeless reindeer mural on , December 10, 2019
  42. New Banksy factory in Bristol: Red roses should be hailing for him. In: Der Spiegel. February 14, 2020, accessed February 14, 2020 .
  43. ^ Caroline Goldstein: Banksy Just Made a Surprisingly Earnest Painting of a Superhero Nurse and Donated It to a British Hospital as a Morale Booster. In: artnet news. May 6, 2020, accessed May 7, 2020 .
  44. ^ Will Gompertz: New Banksy artwork appears at Southampton hospital. May 6, 2020, accessed May 7, 2020 .
  45. ^ Marion Theis: Sotheby´s auction: record proceeds for Banksy picture . In: Tagesschau . 4th October 2019.
  46. Banksy painting auctioned for record price . In: The time . 4th October 2019.
  47. ^ Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall . Weapons of Mass Distraction. ISBN 0-9541704-0-7 . (English); Exitstencilism . Weapons of Mass Distraction. ISBN 0-9541704-1-5 . (engl.); Cut it out . Weapons of Mass Distraction. ISBN 0-9544960-0-0 . (engl.); Wall and piece . Random House. ISBN 1-84413-786-4 (English).
  48. ^ "Shepard Fairey Delivers Banksy Movie Spoiler" ( Memento from February 11, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), Animal New York, Bucky Turco, January 22, 2010 (English).
  49. ^ "Banksy" Exit Through The Gift Shop "The Plot!" , January 22, 2010 (Eng.).
  50. Official website of the film
  51. Swantje Karich: Filming location boiled-out artist's brain . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . January 15, 2013, ISSN  0174-4909 , p. 31 .
  52. Esther Widmann: Banksy asks you to go to “Dismaland” . In: . 2nd August 2015.
  53. ^ Stefan Dege: Moco: New Museum in Amsterdam opens with Banksy and Warhol . In: Deutsche Welle . April 8, 2016.
  54. ^ Museum website
  55. You are not Banksy - photographs by Nick Stern., May 29, 2012, archived from the original on August 2, 2014 ; accessed on March 12, 2017 . (engl.)
  56. Nick Stern: You are not Banksy (Engl.)
  57. Famous street artist: City council removes allegedly racist Banksy mural. In: Spiegel Online. October 2, 2014, accessed October 2, 2014 .
  58. Lorenzo Tondo, Maurice Stierl: Banksy funds refugee rescue boat operating in Mediterranean. The Guardian, August 27, 2020, accessed August 27, 2020 .