Banksy Returns to San Francisco

A Banksy mural of a beret-wearing rat holding a marker pen that was removed from a San Francisco building in 2010 will return to the city next week. It was one of six murals that appeared in the city when the artist visited California five years ago.

The city ordered the removal of the artwork from the side of the Red Victorian Hotel on Haight Street shortly after it appeared, in accordance to the city’s anti-vandalism laws. According to Complexlocal art collector Brian Greif launched a Kickstarter campaign titled “Saving Banksy” to “cover all costs for restoration, crating, shipping, storage and insuring the painting until a public institution can be found for the painting.”

In a video, Greif says, “I’ve been contacted by those galleries…they offered me $500,000 for this Banksy, which I refused…because I believe that public art should remain public.”

SF Weekly reported that, because the mural was removed from the street, Greif was unable to have it authenticated, which has discouraged museums from acquiring the piece. As a compromise, Greif agreed to have the artwork exhibited in the window of the non-commercial San Francisco art space 836M so that it can be viewed from the street.

The official opening takes place on January 21, the piece will remain on display in the gallery window until July 11.

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