There doesn’t seem to come an end to the number of documentaries which have something to do with street artist Banksy. Everyone seems to know his name and he is popular, so using it should be enough to get some interest. Unfortunately not all films which have something to do with his work are of the same quality. Exit Through the Gift Shop was fantastic and is a title I’ve watched several times. Banksy Does New York showed how he took residence in New York for a month and placed a new piece each day, looking at the reactions of the public to them. How to Sell a Banksy was a horrible documentary to watch (in which someone tries to sell one of his pieces he removed from a wall). And now this documentary showed up on Netflix, in which an admirer of Banksy’s work wants to save one of the pieces he made in San Francisco and donate it to a museum.
It turns out that’s easier said than done as there are some obstacles to do that. Firstly most of Banksy’s work is quickly painted over or vandalized by taggers. Once you can make sure that doesn’t happen, you still will have to get that piece, in this case a rat, off the building. When the owner finds out the work is a Banksy, which could be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, this means negotiating and eventually sawing the piece out and repairing the damages. Once that done you would think he is in the clear, but donating it to a museum isn’t easy either as they won’t take it unless the artist makes it official (which Banksy himself doesn’t really do). It doesn’t take long before collectors also start showing up, offering half a million dollars or more. Various street artists talk about all of it and they all think his work shouldn’t be removed as it’s made for the street. Once it is sold they don’t see any revenue from that. An interesting discussion, because they themselves wouldn’t mind that it had gone that way if people are able to see it in a museum a hundred years from now. It makes Saving Banksy one which is worth watching.