In cleaning up London's graffiti for the Olympics city authorities threaten to squelch the work one of its biggest celebrities, the street artist Banksy, but on Monday the secretive graffiti artist showed he wouldn't be deterred from creating Olympics-related art while the whole world is watching. The new pieces that appeared on Banksy's website put police, who've threatened to remove any graffiti they find, in the position of having to power-wash valuable artwork.
The missile image above, and the pole-vaulter below are both new, following arrests of graffiti artists last week and the banning of street artists from Olympics venues. The Guardian's Jonathan Jones argued on Friday that Banksy was one of the great attractions of London, a point borne out by the popularity of his 2009 show at the Bristol Museum and the fact that his works sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. When Bristol street cleaners painted over a Banksy work in 2007, it was considered a serious mistake. Based on his new works, the artist clearly plans to use the olympics as fodder, essentially daring the city to carry out its threats against street art.
Photos via Banksy.