Banksy stages free summer show in his hometown
By MEERA SELVA
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
An installation art piece by Banksy showing a wrecked and graffiti strewn icecream van installed at Bristol Museum, in Bristo, England, where the infamous artist is exhibiting many of his works, Friday June 12, 2009. (AP Photo / Ben Birchall, PA)
LONDON -- Elusive graffiti artist Banksy, who made his name tagging walls and bridges, took his work indoors Friday as he unveiled his biggest-ever exhibition in his hometown's museum.
Banksy installed over 100 pieces, including over 70 new works, at the City Museum and Art Gallery in Bristol after swearing museum staff to secrecy over the project. Outlandish pieces fill the museum's three floors, including a burned out ice-cream van with a giant dripping cone and portable toilets stacked to look like Stonehenge.
Banksy, who refuses to reveal his real name, began his career in Bristol spray-painting local buildings. His works are now coveted, with stars like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie among his admirers.
"This is the first show I've done where taxpayers' money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off," he said in a statement.
Banksy uses spray paint and cardboard stencils to tag walls, bridges and street signs. His most famous images include two policemen kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words "Laugh now, but one day I'll be in charge."
Other notable works include an image of a spear-toting ancient human pushing a shopping cart, displayed in the British Museum in 2005. The next year he smuggled a life-sized figure of a Guantanamo Bay detainee into Disneyland.
His works are found throughout his native Bristol - on exterior walls and bridges. However, he has not held an exhibition indoors there since 2000.
Banksy told the Bristol Evening Post newspaper he put the show together because he wanted to give something back to his town.
"I could have taken the show to a lot of places, but they do have a very nice cup of tea in the museum," he said in a statement given to the newspaper.
The show, called "Banksy Versus Bristol Museum" is free. The show opens to the public Saturday and runs until the end of August.