Issue date: 26 March 2012
Banksy: The Bristol Legacy
Edited by Paul Gough
Published April 2012
160pp 100 (mainly colour) illustrations softback £14.99
The Banksy v Bristol Museum exhibition held in 2009 was arguably the most successful exhibition held in the city attracting record numbers of visitors who queued for hours to witness what some may consider to be the most anarchic ever takeover of an established regional museum.
A new book Banksy: The Bristol Legacy, collects a selection of viewpoints from a range of perspectives and analyses the impact of this phenomenal exhibition, from its legacy to the Bristol economy to Banksy's place in the history of the urban calligrapher.
Banksy: The Bristol Legacy is edited by Professor Paul Gough, Artist and Deputy Vice Chancellor of UWE Bristol and published by John Sansom at Redcliffe Press. The book launches on 4 April 2012 at Rise Records & Books, 70 Queen's Road, Bristol, 18.00 for 18.30.
Paul Gough explains the clue to our fascination with Banksy as the celebrity who everyone has heard of but who chooses to remain anonymous, “His is the missing face from the weekly gossip mags, a global 'name' that simply refuses to reveal himself, the empty seat on the ubiquitous chat show. I wanted to create a comprehensive record of the impact of this amazing exhibition; I wanted to bring together a range of different voices and views, and this is the first 'serious' book about the world's most famous unknown artist, and above all he comes from Bristol!”
The risk taken by Kate Brindley, the then Director of the Bristol Museum to give the museum over to a team of street artists was criticised by some but her hunch paid off, she gives an insight into 'Working with Banksy'. There is a personal reflection on the show and the impact it had on one family. John Sansom, the publisher, reflects on the Nelson Street transformation in the summer of 2010, an obvious legacy of the Banksy show; but after spending a quiet hour or so there, he had his reservations. In another chapter Anna Farthing poses the question, 'Who won?'
Banksy: The Bristol Legacy includes several chapters contributed by UWE Bristol academics.
Steve Poole, a regional historian from UWE Bristol, demonstrates that graffiti and street art is by no means new and argues that at one time chalk messages on the city walls were the equivalent of the social media of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
Anthony Plumridge and Andrew Mearman, Economics experts from UWE Bristol, investigate 'Banksy: the Economic Impact' and look at the short term boost to the local economy. Anthony Plumridge observes, “Like a pebble thrown into a pond, ripples from this impact spread through the economy but very soon become dissipated and disappear. The pond returns to its previous relatively tranquil state. Is this all?”
Paul Gough contributes the introduction, 'Banksy: Painter, Prankster, Polemicist', a chapter on 'the versus habit: Bristol, Banksy and the Barons' and thoughts on 'Banksy: the urban calligrapher'.
The book will be available from Redcliffepress.co.uk and bookshops from Monday 2 April 2012.