Beyond Peckham: the extensive inventory of Banksy’s vanishing artwork.

A street art piece stolen in London has resulted in arrests, but some disappearances are intentional promotional tactics.

A Banksy artwork in Peckham, south London, was removed from a lamp-post shortly after its appearance, adding to the list of his vanished works over the years.

While arrests have been made in connection with the recent removal, not all of Banksy’s works are taken without his consent or for the purpose of profiting. Some have quickly entered the art market, while others have served as clever promotional tools or benefited struggling charities.

Here are a few examples:

Livin The Dream/Caution, Los Angeles (2011)

In February 2011, during his Oscar bid for the documentary “Exit Through The Gift Shop,” Banksy launched a guerrilla campaign in Los Angeles with multiple artworks appearing within a few weeks. One piece depicted Charlie Brown committing arson, while another featured an intoxicated Mickey Mouse with his pants down. The Mickey Mouse piece was removed and destroyed, and a work called Caution, located in the East LA neighborhood of Boyle Heights, was sawn out of the wall it was stenciled on.

Slave Labour, Wood Green (2013)

An image criticizing child labor and the diamond jubilee appeared on the side of a Poundland store in Wood Green in 2012. It remained there for over six months before being removed overnight in February 2013 and later resurfaced at an auction house in Miami. Protests from Haringey council leaders led to the work, also known as the “Poundland Banksy,” being removed from sale and returned to the UK. It was eventually sold in London for £750,000.

The Whitehouse Rat, Liverpool (2013)

A large white rat appeared on The Whitehouse, a derelict pub in Liverpool in 2004. It remained there until 2011 when it was removed prior to the demolition of the building. It then became the centerpiece of a “graffiti bar” in Waterloo, before being sold into private hands. Its current location is unknown, but it was previously auctioned in the Netherlands for over £400,000, rumoured to have been purchased by a UK buyer.

Mobile Lovers, Bristol (2014)

This artwork, depicting two lovers embracing while absorbed in their phones, was stenciled on a piece of boarding attached to the side of a youth club. Initially removed and placed inside for public viewing, with donations encouraged to support the financially struggling club. After receiving death threats, the club handed the artwork over to the city council. Banksy himself then intervened and allowed the club to sell it, using the proceeds to sustain the institution.

Morning Has Broken, Herne Bay (2023)

In the town of Herne Bay, Kent, a Banksy artwork appeared on a decaying building depicting a child opening curtains made of corrugated iron on the side of a derelict farmhouse. However, the artwork was unknowingly demolished shortly afterwards by the contractors working on the site, depriving the owner and the company of a potentially valuable piece.

“We had no idea it was a Banksy. It made me feel sick realizing it was a Banksy – we were gutted,” one of the contractors told website KentOnline.

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