Friday, 28 January 2011

Banksy versus Bristol Museum

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"

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.

The famous Queue later at 12:30 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 !

My view from the queue !

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_1038

Mother and Punk

Chimpanzee Parliament

The opposition


Silent Night

Damien Hirst (modification)

House on the Hill

Flight to Egypt (budget) Claude Derain

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 ? !!

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

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_1103 - Version 2 (1)
Banksy Queue, University Road Bristol


  1. Wow. I read your intro and was prepared to hate Bansky's work, but I can't. I love the humor. In fact, it's hard to say which my favorite is--either the painting about composition or the Paris Hilton shopping statue. Did you think it was worth the wait?

  2. Wow--what a popular exhibition! Interesting work--very interesting work. You have to appreciate the creativity in all his pieces.

  3. I ADORE his work! Thank you for this post and the photographs were great eye candy for me! I love his sense of humor.

  4. Thank you very much for these........Banksy has passed me by or more precisely I have passed by him.
    Not any more.
    It's a measure of the man that he allowed photographs.

  5. I have rated his work for some time - thanks for refreshing my memories of it.

  6. I will not copy/paste my last week comment even if for me the week was the same!
    But it is Friday today and what I found here it is (in my opinion) a paradise of thoughts, colours, smells and art lines! I want to thank you for this post because you change (whith it) my weekend program!
    I will go visit Contemporary Art Museum,here in Bucharest, keeping in mind that art and pasion of travel bring people together no matter distance between!Thank you!
    Wishing you a best weekend, see you soon!

  7. How bizarre...and fun! I especially liked his take on 'the gleaners.' Hey, I once visited Parliament when it was in session. That's just how I remembered it, exactly like our Congress! And the sheep one - it's usually the car traveling the road, coming upon sheep in the way. These are so clever! and what a cool signature, huh. I'd say definitely worth the long lines (queue).
    Thanks for the post!

  8. I have heard of him before but haven't really known his work. I think you have to look at several pieces in order "to get" him. It is interesting that he allowed pictures but I'm glad he did and that you shared them.

  9. Judging by the size of the queue as shown in two of your pictures, the public is not indifferent to Bansky's work, probaly loves it.

    I like the paintings that are a combination of landscape and working people such as: "Taking a rest", "Home on the Hill".

  10. I love the gleaner taking a rest! Thanks for braving the crowds to give the rest of us a look!

  11. I want some of his art for my apartment!

  12. Absolutely stunning this post. Congratulations.

  13. Interesting story and art. Excellent post.

    Darryl and Ruth : )

  14. What a long queue... That Mcdonald is really funny! This exhibition must be very interesting!

  15. Fabulous this important post. I like it!

  16. Because I love art - this is one of my most favorite posts from this site. I love love love everything in this entry.


    Thanks a lot for sharing this, my friend.

  17. Crazy exhibits but I like the humour of some of them. And I like the statue sitting above the entrance. Sometimes it is good to look at things a bit untraditionally... :-)

  18. JoLynne Lyon... Thanks, Unlike the people in the side street, I knew how long I had to wait as I was near the front and was allowed in with the second group 10 minutes after opening. well worth the wait....( Hope this reply was worth the wait... sorry!!)

    forgetmenot... Thanks, not like his conventional things you see on the street.

    Farmchick ...Thanks, pleased you enjoyed them.

    Adrian... Thanks, Unusual work for Banksy but I don't think he could care about the photos as it's more profile for him. The book sales in the shop were enough evidence of his success. I never realised he had so many.

    Trevor Woodford... Thanks, It's nice to see this aspect of his work.

    Wind... Thanks, So pleased that I could inspire you with this.

    Cranberry Morning... Thanks, every gallery produced an unexpected surprise. What you don't see here is the perspective that all his pictures were displayed amongst the normal artwork.

    Midwest to Midlands... Thanks, he has controversial points to make in some of his work but these were the more standard exhibits.

    Lily Riani... I'm not sure if I could guarantee that the exhibition will be as good if you ever come here.

    DUTA... Thanks, I think the local media inspired more people to queue as the reporting was about both the exhibition and the queue. The exhibition was extended due to it's popularity.

    Vicki Lane... Thanks, The Gleaner picture was a surprise and the queue didn't bother me as I had a lot less tie to wait than others behind me.

    Kae Lani... I don't remember seeing any on sale in the shop. The books seemed to be moving quite quickly though.

    Phivos Nicolaides... Thanks, glad you liked it.

    Darryl & Ruth... Thanks, Pleased you enjoyed it.

    Rafael Lam... Thanks, they could only let a certain amount of people in at a time as we filed past the ice cream van and the sculptures. Ten there was another limit on how many people could be in the building.

    Tossan... Thanks, it's good that you saw it as his work seems to have a lot of interest all over the world. There were requests for something similar in other parts of the world for another exhibition.

    Rizalenio... Thanks, pleased that you enjoyed it.

    Petra... Thanks, this exhibition was about thinking outside the box as we say. Other exhibits not shown here made you think about contemporary culture issues. Overall it made everyone think.

  19. As an art student researching the work of the Impressionists, I have big help from this site called It's like a good art library, where, convenient for me, works of artists are divided into art movements in history. Some of the works I had never seen before.
    As the canvas prints are affordable, I ordered online a little size canvas print of my favorite,, by Claude Monet.


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