Norfolk, Virginia: The anonymous English street artist known internationally as Banksy is notorious for stunts. He made headlines for remotely shredding a framed print of his "Girl With Balloon" following its sale for $1.4 million at a Sotheby's auction.
His work has also taken on deep meaning for many. Thought to memorialize victims killed and injured in Paris, France by armed militants in 2015, Banksy's piece on an emergency door of the Bataclan music hall was recently stolen, triggering expressions of loss and outrage by the venue and mayor, among others.
Banksy's "Haight Street Rat" is now on view at the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries through April 7, 2019.
Coinciding with the release of his 2010 film "Exit Through the Gift Shop," Banksy visited San Francisco and painted six stencil murals, including a seven-foot-tall rat above Haight Street.
While the remaining murals were destroyed, art collector Brian Greif quickly set to work with the Haight Street property owner and others to arrange careful removal of the Victorian-era redwood siding slats bearing the art, with the aim of donating the reassembled piece to a museum for public display.
The 2017 film "Saving Banksy" chronicles Greif's efforts.
Old Dominion University's Executive Director for the Arts, Cullen Strawn, worked with Greif to bring Banksy's piece to Norfolk for Hampton Roads and surrounding communities. "This is a chance to see a Banksy up close," said Strawn. "It can help us think about cultural and ethical dimensions of creating, preserving, and profiteering from street art."
"Saving Banksy" is currently viewable on Netflix and is also on continuous rotation in the Gordon Galleries, where Banksy's rat appears alongside a new mural by local artists (view a time-lapse video of its creation at https://youtu.be/arIOwC15FJA)) and an area where visitors can leave their own marks.
The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries exhibit works by nationally and internationally recognized self-taught artists, contemporary artists working in all media, and local and regional artists connected with Old Dominion University. Free and open to the public, with parking in the 45th Street garage. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m. For more information, visit odu.edu/gordongalleries, facebook.com/gordonartgalleries, or call (757) 683-6271.
This item was posted by a community contributor.