BRINGING THE HAIGHT STREET BACK TO SAN FRANCISCO
In conjunction with Brian Greif, 836M brought Banksy’s Haight Street Rat back to the city of its origins approximately four years after Banksy originally painted it, on about May 3, 2010. After six months of negotiation, experts in repairing and renovating historic buildings removed the work—which weighs in at 420 pounds—from the building that served as the original “canvas.”
After being stored for two years, the piece was shipped to the Fine Arts Conservation Laboratories in Santa Barbara for preservation. Since then, it has been displayed only twice. Once in Miami, where it is part of Saving Banksy (a documentary about the artist and his work), and in October 2014 in Los Angeles.
The Haight Street Rat was mounted in the window of the gallery. This is so visitors may view it from the street, which 836M sees as a critical aspect of the exhibit since that allows the piece to be exhibited in its natural habitat, the street, yet afforded the protection it deserves.
Banksy is believed to have been born in Bristol, England, around 1974. He rose to prominence for his provocative stenciled pieces in the late 1990s. Banksy is the subject of a 2010 documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which examines the relationship between commercial and street art.
Striking images characterize Banksy’s artwork, often combined with slogans. His work often engages political themes, satirically critiquing war, capitalism, hypocrisy, and greed. Common subjects include rats, apes, police officers, members of the royal family, and children. In addition to his two-dimensional work, Banksy is known for his installation artwork.
Other pieces have drawn attention for their edgy themes or the boldness of their execution. He is known for using copyrighted material and subversion of classic images. Banksy’s worldwide fame has transformed his artwork from acts of vandalism into sought-after high-art pieces.