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Arts

Eric Garcetti Is a Banksy Fan But Would Prosecute Him Anyway

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Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 11:29 AM

click to enlarge "Caution" by Banksy, Boyle Heights, 2011 - PHOTO BY TED SOQUI
  • Photo by Ted Soqui
  • "Caution" by Banksy, Boyle Heights, 2011
Banksy has been in residency in New York for the last few weeks, which has irked billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg. At a press conference last week, Bloomberg said that defacing property "is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted."

Banksy has often worked in Los Angeles. He was featured in a MOCA show on street art, and he may or may not be coming back to L.A. Unlike New York, L.A. has a hipster mayor. So would Eric Garcetti be any more welcoming of the British street-art icon?

Yes and no.


Garcetti is a fan of Banksy's work, but rules are rules. The city recently loosened restrictions on street murals, but painting graffiti in the dead of night still counts as vandalism.

"Mayor Garcetti appreciates Banksy as an artist," said Vicki Curry, Garcetti's spokeswoman. "But the City of L.A. will enforce the law. Under our new mural ordinance, a mural can be painted on private property if the artist or property owner secures a permit through the Department of Cultural Affairs."

Garcetti may take a different tone than Bloomberg, but in substance the policy is the same.

That's probably fine with Banksy. Getting official approval from the mayor's office would totally kill his cred.

"I'm not so interested in convincing people in the art world that what I do is 'art,' " Banksy told the Weekly in 2010. "I'm more bothered about convincing people in the graffiti community that what I do is really vandalism."

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