Banksy's Back


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The Independent Culture

Banksy has come in from the cold to stage his largest ever exhibition in his hometown of Bristol.

The renowned graffiti artist has set up more than 100 pieces inside the City Museum and Art Gallery, most of which are previously unseen.

The show includes a Damien Hirst piece which is graffitied by Banksy and a picture of Davina McCall on a charity trip to Africa with speech bubbles added. It also features a fish bowl with two fish fingers floating in it - which was shown at a fake pet shop set up by Banksy in New York to point out the dangers of factory farming.

The exhibition called "Banksy versus Bristol Museum" was organised under tight security and installed in just 36 hours with most of the museum staff unaware it was even happening. Banksy, whose real identity remains a mystery, claims that hosting the exhibition in the city is his way of thanking the city for his early street art care. He once created an image of a naked man hanging from a bedroom window on the side of a sexual health clinic in Bristol. The City Council allowed the public to decide whether it should remain - and following the overwhelming support, it can still be seen on Park Street.

Despite once being sought for vandalism by the police, his pieces now sell for large prices at galleries and auction houses around the world. In 2007, Sotheby's auction house in London auctioned three pieces, and Banksy's "Bombing Middle England" was sold for £102,000 - the highest price paid for a Banksy work at auction.

Banksy is known for his controversial and unreserved attitude to modern art. Famous pieces include dressing an inflatable doll as a Guantanamo Bay prisoner and then placing it within Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at the Disneyland in California. He also replaced copies of Paris Hilton’s first album Paris in nearly 50 UK record stores with his own cover art and remixes by Danger Mouse - including tracks "Why am I Famous?" and "What Am I For?" and a cover picture or Paris digitally altered to appear topless.

The exhibition is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors and opens on Saturday in Bristol, running until the end of August.