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Someone Stole Banksy’s Broken-Down Raleigh Bicycle

Guerrilla artist Banksy’s most recent art installation, a hula-hooping girl painted on the side of a hair salon in Nottingham, near London, England, has been vandalized.
Hula-hooping girl by Banksy in Nottingham, England 3 photos
Hula-hooping girl by Banksy in Nottingham, EnglandHula-hooping girl by Banksy in Nottingham, England
In mid-October, Banksy posted photos of his new artwork on Instagram: it was a broken-down Raleigh bicycle tied to a post, sitting only on its front wheel. Behind the bike was a sprayed-on girl, hula-hooping with the bike’s missing tire.

Despite the fact that the council of Nottinghamshire rushed to protect the artwork with a sheet of plastic right after it was confirmed as a Bansky original (and estimated at some £214,000 / $285,000), it’s been vandalized twice as of the time of writing. The graffiti alone. Add the recent bike theft and it’s been vandalized three times.

The BBC reports that, as of this morning, the Raleigh bicycle has been stolen. This was clearly a targeted theft, since the bike wasn’t usable: based on photos alone, it looks like only the frame could be salvaged, so it’s likely whoever took it knew it was a Banksy work. Without it, the art installation loses its meaning, since it’s just a girl hula-hooping.

“The artwork records an important part of Nottingham's history, Raleigh bikes,” resident Tracy Jayne, who discovered the theft, tells the publication. “It's such a shame if someone has stolen the bike. It's sheer disrespect and saddens me very much.”

At the time this got out, the local police said they hadn’t been informed of the theft. Ironically, Banksy’s own supporters predicted this outcome right after the official unveiling of the installation: that bike will be gone within days and end up for auction on eBay, they said.

Being a guerrilla artist (still, despite the fact that his stuff can fetch millions at auction), Banksy is probably accustomed to the idea that most of his work will either be vandalized or cleaned up by authorities, on purpose or by mistake.


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