Everyone’s favourite vandal Banksy is at it again: he’s tipping art on its head and encouraging us to steal one of his $15,000 works right off the wall. The Art Series hotel chain in Melbourne will hang Banksy’s ‘No Ball Games’ in their hotels from December 15.The rules, or lack thereof, have been set so that if a guest can successfully steal the work without getting caught, it’s yours to keep: ”Stay the night, steal the art.”
Too often do people take Banksy’s graffiti gags as pure novelty, especially when he churns out brilliant one liners like, “Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of our world I can’t even finish my second apple pie.” But Banksy’s street art and his stunts are so much more intelligent and thought-provoking than a forgettable chuckle does not do them justice. Banksy is at his most poignant and idealistic when he preaches:
Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody [could] draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases… A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall—it’s wet.
Those in Melbourne from December 15 to January 15 ought to start planning a tricksy heist soon—as soon as the work hits the hotel wall, mayhem and chaos will tear the Art Series hotels to shreds, simply because the anonymous trouble maker once told us to “Live as a villain, die as a hero.”
UPDATE Jan 17: The quest to steal and keep the Banksy seemed all but over not long after it began, when two savvy ladies made off with No Ball Games. Art Series Hotels reinstated the competition with the $4,000 piece Pulp Fiction and guests tried to get their hands on it with tactics like distracting staff with scantily-clad women and posing as hotel staff. None prevailed though, so Art Series have donated the piece to Crime Stoppers, whose statement upon receipt of the piece said, “We want people to report crime when they see it, as we can’t assume that all criminals will be as inept as the people who tried to steal this Pulp Fiction piece. We will be auctioning off this work of art with the much needed proceeds going to the prevention and reporting of crime.”