Sunday, 17 July 2011

Bansky work destroyed

Back here we reported on a piece of art that had been mistaken as rubbish and thrown out. Now it appears that a similar fate has befallen one of Banksy's works – albeit not for the first time.

Gorilla in a Pink Mask had graced the outer wall of a building in Eastville, Bristol for 10 years until it was recently covered in emulsion by the new owner of the building. Unfortunately, it seems that he was not aware that he was destroying an extremely valuable artwork.


But does anyone have the right to complain or a cause of action to prevent such acts? After all it was the owner's wall to paint over - was it not?

This is likely to reignite one of the main controversies over Banksy's outdoor works that because he uses private properties as his canvas, it is often difficult to ascribe ownership of the works and to protect and preserve them. Any suggestions as to how his art could be protected?

3 comments:

gnstr said...

My understanding is that Copyright in artistic works/ literary works protects not the structure on which the work has been fixed (i.e the physical structure of the painting) but the embodiment of the work. So, if I a built a miniature castle inside a random house I broke into while the owners were away, and took photos of my creativity...assuming the actual trespassing is not at issue, the photographs would probably be entitled to copyright protection, and maybe registered design protection in the 3D shape of the miniature castle. What I couldn't possibly do by law, is to prevent the owner of the property (once he returns) from destroying my handicraft, if he so finds it objectionable - which I'm certain he most probably would. So maybe the only way to save Banksy is by making derivative works, on his behalf, and displaying these in a Museum.
Oh, btw, the last paragraph has a wrong misspell "Bansky's" instead of Banksy's, :-)

gnstr said...

My understanding is that Copyright in artistic works/ literary works protects not the structure on which the work has been fixed (i.e the physical structure of the painting) but the embodiment of the work. So, if I a built a miniature castle inside a random house I broke into while the owners were away, and took photos of my creativity...assuming the actual trespassing is not at issue, the photographs would probably be entitled to copyright protection, and maybe registered design protection in the 3D shape of the miniature castle. What I couldn't possibly do by law, is to prevent the owner of the property (once he returns) from destroying my handicraft, if he so finds it objectionable - which I'm certain he most probably would. So maybe the only way to save Banksy is by making derivative works, on his behalf, and displaying these in a Museum.
Oh, btw, the last paragraph has a wrong misspell "Bansky's" instead of Banksy's, :-)

jadeamanda said...

I have been greatly intrigued by this post, the questions raised certainly have been food for thought...

After some browsing on the internet, I was interested to find two occasions in which a piece of perspex was used to protect Banksy's work.

http://streetartlondon.co.uk/blog/banksy-tox-jeffrys-street-camden-town/

http://news.fitzrovia.org.uk/2011/06/07/banksy-gets-mystery-protection/

Another question that came to mind whilst reading this post: If the owner of the building instead of covering with emulsion, could somehow extract the bricks/part of the wall inclusive of Banksy's art, would this be considered theft?