Friday, 28 January 2011

Banksy versus Bristol Museum


Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1108_edited

Bristol Museum is a council run Art Gallery with exhibitions that would probably attract low to average attendance figures in a normal day. During the summer of 2009, there were about 4000 people visiting on a daily basis to see the work of the mysterious controversial graffiti artist Banksy. It was estimated that there were a total of 300,000 visitors to the exhibition bringing £15 million to the economy of Bristol. The museum made it into the top 30 of global exhibition attendance figures for 2009.

It is said that Banksy put on the exhibition to thank Bristol for supporting his early street work where he made a lot of mistakes and the council were quick to paint over or remove the artwork. It was ironic that Banksy organised this exhibition with three minor people without the council having any prior knowledge. There were adverts placed in local job centres for 14 full time staff to oversee the exhibition during this period.

Banksy had succeeded in getting his work displayed publicly without the authorities knowing about it. It seemed that he had won his battle in his self titled "Banksy versus Bristol Museum".

Banksy quotes :-
"This is the first show I've done where the Taxpayers money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off"

"People either love me or hate me, or they don't really care"

Banksy nostalgia 2009 GJC_IMG_1109_edited-1

On friday 7th August 2009, I was dropped off by car on a road near the docks (where I took the Clifton Suspension bridge photo in an earlier post) at 7:30am as my car driver was en route to work in the city. I was previously warned about the 3 & 1/2 hour queues and was advised to go there for the exhibition opening.

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1103
The famous Queue later at 12:30
...so instead of going to my usual Starbucks waiting for the shops to open, I made my way here and got a take out tea across the road and took my place in the queue at 8:15. I was fortunate to say that I had a place in the small queue outside the building (first photo) wait in the queue.  There was a good atmosphere with Big Issue sellers ( homeless entrepreneurial magazine seller giving themselves some money) making a fortune. I read it from cover to cover as the museum opened at 10am !

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1011
My view from the queue !
Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1014
Ice Cream van ...Reception and information point 
I hope you enjoy this selected tour of the gallery that I have given you here. Some of his work is a statement about his views on life and ethics which don't lend themselves to still photography and for those reasons, I have had to edit it out. This set in my opinion was Banksy's best work on display.

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1024
Studio

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1032_edited-1 (1)



                     Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1033

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1038


Mother & Punk ... GJC_IMG_1039
Mother and Punk

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1043


Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1044_edited-1
Chimpanzee Parliament

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1045
The opposition
Taking a break... GJC_IMG_1058_2_edited-1
Taking a rest

edited Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1060 - Version 2


System error ... GJC_IMG_1063


Hartcliffe ... GJC_IMG_1065
Landscape near Hartcliffe (local Bristol suburb!)
Madonna & Child ... GJC_IMG_1069
Silent Night

UFO ... GJC_IMG_1071
UFO invasion

Damon Hirst ... GJC_IMG_1072_edited-1
Damien Hirst (modification)
House on the Hill ... GJC_IMG_1073
House on the Hill
Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1074
signature

Flight to Egypt ... GJC_IMG_1080
Flight to Egypt (budget) Claude Derain
Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1081 - Version 2
Lion Tamer tamed

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1098
Renaissance Paris Hilton goes shopping
All too soon it was time to leave and allow more people to enter the building before it got too crowded, it was at this point that I discovered the extent of the queue outside....

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1105
Anyone for an Ice Cream ? !!

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    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
-      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -



P.S. I recently updated this set (April 2014) and as a bonus here are the alternative images of those in the post for a bit of entertainment.

Banksy nostalgia 2009 ...


Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1024 - Version 2


Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1038 - Version 2


Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1060


System error ... GJC_IMG_1063 - Version 2
System Error has Occurred


Flight to Egypt ... GJC_IMG_1080 - Version 2
The Flight to Egypt ( Claude Derain / Banksy / J_on _tour)


Lion Tamer tamed ... GJC_IMG_1081
Lion Tamer Tamed
                    


Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1105 - Version 3
Banksy Queue


Banksy nostalgia 2009 ... GJC_IMG_1103 - Version 2 (1)
Banksy Queue, University Road Bristol

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Bristol - a walk away from town (2)


In the first part of the walk, I took a very loosely based circular trip around the various shopping centres and pointed other things of interest in that part of town.
For the second part of this walk, I have returned to my starting point at the main waterfront ferry landing. The walkway from Pero's bridge (seen in an earlier post) leads into a modern development called Millenium square. The most striking building is the Planetarium Dome which is part of the interactive family museum called "@ Bristol".


This area is so new that it has not yet realised it's full potential at it stretches west along the north side of the harbour side. Bristol is famous for the creation and animation of the cartoon characters Wallace and Gromit and I was privileged to see some of the film sets for "Curse of the Were Rabbit" that were on display in this building for a short time. The following short film clip (the train chase in "The Wrong Trousers" appeals to my sense of humour with a travel slant on it !!
Apologies to international viewers who are not permitted to see this (thanks to Cranberry Morning for letting me know) ...

Wallace & Grommit (youtube clip) (embedding unavailable)

I will not be beaten into finding something that is available and even though it is not quite the characteristics that you can expect from the animation, here is a sample...




On the other side of the building is an interesting sculpture called "Small worlds" which commemorates the work of physicist Paul Dirac.


The reflection of Bristol Cathedral is seen across the road from the window of the @ Bristol complex


It seems that the continual construction and upgrading of the city is also seen in the history of Bristol Cathedral ! Originally built between 1140 and 1148 AD in the Norman style (like Durham) with later smaller adjacent buildings joining it that still survive today. About 150 years later, an Abbot felt the need to rebuild it in a Gothic style with the central tower being added later in the 15th century. It was unfortunate that when the monasteries were all closed in 1539 that some of the half finished building work was destroyed. Like many other buildings of that time, it was not until Henry VIII decided to convert it to Cathedral status that it was completed. There was a Gothic revival in the 19th century and most of the building was modified once more with the final structure being finished in 1888.


Despite being told that College green was a place for celebrations and protests, I only ever saw it as a place of relaxation and that is how I choose to remember it ... where you can put your feet up and relax...


Facing the Cathedral on the opposite of the Green is Bristol council offices where the city is organised !!


Unusually, it is called The Council House which has a bit of laughable irony to those who know what that kind of structure is here in the UK. It took 18 years to build and was opened in 1956.


I am not going to wax lyrical about 20th century council offices but there is one story of interest that concerns the items placed on the roof...


Two 12 foot Unicorns were unknowingly ordered for the roof. The chairman of the council building committee discovered the two animals about to be hoisted up into place and stopped the project until he found out who had authorised it. The man who eventually claimed responsibility was on holiday at the time .... maybe that's because they cost an amazing £2,400 (1950 price). He thought that the gilt painted animals would look better than an ornamental ridge albeit at a greater cost. So much for councils trying to save money at every opportunity .... Council House, indeed !!!


Bristol is also famous for the the production of sherry (Harvey's Bristol Cream) and on numerous occasions I tried to find the museum that was signposted but the trail went cold as I got near. It turns out that it closed just before I started travelling to Bristol but a lot of the signs were still in place. I located the street and could only assume that the building had been turned into luxury housing.


Bristol has a few Tudor buildings like this public house nearby dating back to 1606. It is said that this building is haunted, has human skin on the door beneath the paint and a rat pit at the back.


I retrace my steps (from the right hand side of the above picture) to Park street where the imposing building of Bristol University stands at the top. The street is full of vibrant small boutiques and associated student shops. I make a quick detour to the left to see the disappointing Cabot's Tower (seen and mentioned in the Bristol Maritime post). However, the hill park that it is built on seems to be more of a place to go and feed the local squirrels.....


The creature is wise as I did not have food for him, that he retreated to a safe viewpoint and the comfort of his lounge.  !!


It is time to climb Park street to visit the Art Gallery beyond the University to see something very unusual. A small clue here about the next post....

Banksy is a famous "irreverently tasteful" (my words of description) street graffiti artist that  demonstrates the urban underground scene of Bristol. Unfortunately on this occasion, he was a victim of his own success as the work on the end of a large plain windowless wall at the bottom of Park street was damaged by a less artistic graffitist.

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