Banksy graffiti ripped down, ahead of Oscars

17th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A graffiti-enhanced poster attributed to secretive British artist Banksy was ripped down Wednesday in Hollywood, amid sightings of other pieces in a reported pre-Oscars publicity campaign in LA.

Banksy is nominated for best documentary for "Exit Through the Gift Shop" at the Oscars, due to be announced on February 27 at the climax of Tinseltown's annual awards season.

And the elusive artist, whose identity is not publicly known, is suspected of being behind a number of Banksy-style graffiti pieces that have cropped up over the past few days.

One was on an advertising board overlooking Sunset Strip, opposite the headquarters of the Directors Guild of America, depicting an inebriated Mickey Mouse with his hand indelicately placed on a model's body.

But the TMZ celebrity website posted a video of the poster -- which if a genuine Banksy could be worth a lot of money -- being taken down Wednesday -- followed by an altercation involving those who removed it and another man.

At the same time, other examples of the provocative British artist's work have been spotted around town, including a Charlie Brown figure starting a fire on the side of a burned-out building on Sunset Boulevard.

Representatives of the artist could not be immediately reached for comment on the reports, which came 10 days before the Oscars ceremony when the movie world will descend on Hollywood for the 53rd Academy Awards show.

Banksy, whose work has surfaced in the West Bank and post-Katrina New Orleans and now sells for tens of thousands of dollars at auction, calls the picture "a film about a man who tried to make a film about me."

"Exit Through the Gift Shop" -- dubbed "the world's first street art disaster movie" -- focuses on French videographer Thierry Guetta and his insider look at underground artists at work.

© 2011 AFP

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