Heritage protection for street art? The case of Banksy’s Spybooth

Hansen, Susan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4679-9116 (2018) Heritage protection for street art? The case of Banksy’s Spybooth. Nuart Journal, 1 (1) . pp. 31-35. ISSN 2535-549X [Article]

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In April 2014, two works by Banksy – Mobile Lovers and Spybooth – appeared overnight, 40 miles apart, in the Southwest of England. They each set a precedent for the preservation, safeguarding and ownership of street art. However, while Mobile Lovers achieved this by subverting legal strictures in favour of a socio-moral course of action (see Hansen, 2018) the disruption effected by Spybooth lay in its appropriation and co-option of existing heritage frameworks. Through their site-specific placement, these pieces subverted the recent trend for the removal of street art for private auction without the consent of either the artist or the community in which the work is located. This controversial trend has sparked debates reminiscent of the illegal trade of antiquities (Merrill, 2014). The tension at the basis of this lawful yet morally problematic practice is grounded in the legal recognition of the rights of property owners to the tangible works on their walls over the moral rights of street artists to control the first distribution of their work; the rights of communities to assert ownership over works they regard as public art intended for their enjoyment, and the until now unrealized potential for the recognition of the value of such works to their communities of origin through heritage protection. This research note explores the case of Spybooth, and in particular, the precedent this work set for the protection of street art in situ, and the community debate this generated.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 28372
Notes on copyright: The copyright of all articles remains with the author of the article. However, the copyright of the layout and design of articles published in the Nuart Journal remains with the Nuart Journal and may not be used in any other publications.
Nuart Journal by Nuart Journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at Nuartjournal.com
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Depositing User: Susan Hansen
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2019 22:08
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2019 19:29
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28372

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