London’s Public Transport Agency Would Like Banksy to Come Back for a Do-Over

This could be described as a typical case of trying to fix your grandma’s most prized vase with superglue after it shattered on the floor: Transport for London is basically pleading with Banksy to come back for a do-over of the work they erased by accident.
Banksy's latest work on the London Underground, now long removed 7 photos
Photo: Instagram / Banksy
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Earlier this week, the guerrilla artist posted an Instagram video showing how he had infiltrated one of the disinfection teams to tag a train on the London Underground. Not only was he able to tag it with his name, but he also did some of his world-famous rats – this time, as a bid to get people to be more responsible on public transport and wear masks.

Based on the video, Banksy did a sneezing rat, two more using their masks as parachutes, and one using it to cover its entire face. A couple of rats were stenciled on the sliding doors, where Banksy left the message “We get lockdown, but we get up again,” a clear riff on the popular 1997 hit “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba.

One day after the video went live, art lovers, fans and commuters rushed to the London Underground to see the art – an understandable move considering that, these days, Banksy’s works sell for many millions of pounds. Just last year, a painting of chimps set a new record, selling for £9.9 million ($12.3 million at the current exchange rate).

It was no longer there.

Transport for London, the government agency that handles public transport in the Greater London Area, says that the work has been removed by cleaners who had no idea who had authored it. There is a strict anti-graffiti policy in place and they were only doing their job.

Still, TfL would like Banksy to please come back to do his stuff – just not on the train.

“[We] would like to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location,” a spokesperson tells The Art Newspaper. “We appreciate the sentiment of encouraging people to wear face coverings, which the vast majority of customers on our transport network are doing.”

In other words, if Banksy wants to do his graffiti on TfL property, he can do it as he would a commissioned work, in a dedicated place – he just wouldn’t be paid for it.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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