British guerilla artist Banksy's much touted LA debut has hit a snag: the elephant he'd painted with a non-toxic paint to match the wallpaper of an installation was ordered washed off. Animal rights activists have protested the inclusion of the animal at all, and finally the general manager of LA's animal welfare department ordered that "the elephant be completely scrubbed down to bare skin and that a child-safe face paint be used":
The department had initially granted Banksy a permit to use the elephant, which he had hired from local company Have Trunk Will Travel. But when officials saw the result in a crowded, celebrity-laden opening on Thursday night, they tried to rescind the licence.I love Banksy's work, but this one seems to deviate from the artist's usual social commentary into unadulterated spectacle. As The Guardian writes, "Whether Banksy, the reclusive 28-year-old British artist and provocateur, had intended to allow the elephant's plight to distract from his grand themes of poverty, political hypocrisy and the future of the planet is debatable."
The department, however, had to give five days' notice, by which time the exhibition would have closed. Mr Boks instead ordered the elephant scrubbed clean. "The paint they had been using, although non-toxic, according to government regulations was unsafe and even illegal to use the way they had been using it," Mr Boks said.
Banksy banksied: aBLA reports: "Jeff Gillette 'banksied' Banksy this weekend by sneaking in and installing his 11x14 inch painting Manet's Luncheon on the Grass with with Talaban, Burkhas RPG's and McDonalds take out. Apparently Gillette made it through security with ease and installed in in the back room. It was only up for 15 minutes (hey, where's the fun in that?) but during that time it was clear it looked like it belonged!"