Banksy’s subversive gift: a socio-moral test case for the safeguarding of street art

Hansen, Susan ORCID logoORCID: (2018) Banksy’s subversive gift: a socio-moral test case for the safeguarding of street art. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 22 (2) . pp. 285-297. ISSN 1360-4813 [Article] (doi:10.1080/13604813.2018.1461478)

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This paper discusses a socio-moral precedent for the safeguarding of street art. This incident represents a novel recognition of the wishes of the community and the intentions of the artist in determining the fate of local street art, and a rare acknowledgement of the rights of street artists to determine the first distribution of their work, over the rights of property owners, who are otherwise able to claim the tangible artworks on their walls as individual, rather than community, property. The case discussed is that of Banksy’s (2014) Mobile Lovers which, by its site-specific placement, thwarted the possibility of acquisitive removal for private auction. Despite the high profile dispute over who should be considered the proper beneficiary of the work, it was agreed that it should be considered a ‘gift’ to the community and should thus be protected. The removal of the work for safeguarding in the Bristol Museum afforded a seemingly neutral zone of protection for Mobile Lovers during this period of conflict. However, the museum was also represented as an agent of the city, and as a democratic space, where visitors, as “the people”, were encouraged to record their own preferences for the future of the work. Rancière’s conceptualization of democracy as a disruptive process, rather than an established consensual state of affairs, is employed to challenge an understanding of the museum’s strategies as self-evidently democratic.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Forensic Psychology Research Group
Item ID: 22179
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action on 04/03/2018, available online:
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Depositing User: Susan Hansen
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2017 15:58
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 20:08

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