Banksy charged Bristol Museum £1, contract papers reveal

By Culture24 Staff | 14 August 2009
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Graffiti superstar Banksy charged Bristol Museum £1 for the secret show which became one of the most popular exhibitions of 2009, according to revealing contract details released today by officials from the artist's home city.

A Freedom of Information Act request has forced Bristol's City Museum and Art Gallery to disclose a rundown of negotiations and the official agreement for Banksy Versus Bristol Museum, including emails between organisers urging the need to "stay schtum" and a condition that CCTV recordings of Banksy's team setting up the show would be destroyed.

Certain names and highly-sensitive information such as the value and insurance costs of individual works have been obscured with blank ink in the documents, which have been made available online.

A picture of writing from a contract

The contract has been released online

There are no direct references to the elusive artist, but passages list PCO – the Pest Control Office responsible for verifying Banksy works – and a letter from Bristol City Council's legal team calls his anonymity "crucial to his commercial interests."

The exhibition was kept secret from Museum staff, who were told filming was taking place, and all footage of the installation process will be destroyed after 30 days under the terms of the deal.

Clauses in the papers also highlight meticulous plotting of the pieces, which included chickens morphed into fried nuggets, a stuffed rabbit trying on jewellery in front of a mirror and the biblical Madonna listening to an iPod.

Almost 250,000 people have passed through the Queen's Road site since the critically-acclaimed free show opened, building on the success of the opening weekend, when more than 8,000 visitors were recorded and a one-in, one-out policy had to be adopted.

Bristol City Council deputy leader Simon Cook said: "This is definitely the best pound the city council has ever spent."

Read the agreements here:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Exhibition continues until August 31 2009.

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