Not everyone loves Banksy. When the only graffiti artist with big-name recognition stenciled a giant, Che-beret-wearing rat on the side of the Haight-Ashbury's Red Victorian — the recently sold hippie bed-and-breakfast, not the dearly-departed hippie movie theater, rest its soul — the building's late owner Sami Sunchild blasted the act as "vandalism."
Unlike most of what Banksy left us during his April 2010 vandalism/street art spree around town, the rat has been neither painted over nor appropriated by art merchants with visions of six-figure sales dancing in their heads. Its fate is much, much worse: the rat has been kidnapped and is now being held against its will in Los Angeles, where it is on display in the lobby of that city's tallest building, the U.S. Bank Tower, as our sister site LAist is reporting.
Despite her initial ire when the rat first appeared on her building, it was the Red Victorian's Sunchild who allowed former KRON4 manager Brian Grief to remove the rat from the building as long as he would not sell it. He complied, but now you see the catch.
City law required that the Banksy pieces be removed or painted over unless the property owners wanted to pay penalties for the joy of being defaced by a famous person.
A deal to house the rat in San Francisco at the SFMOMA "fell through," the Guardian reported, and since then the rat has made the rounds elsewhere in the art world, even appearing in Miami behind a velvet rope.
Beginning Friday, the rat can be visited in that Los Angeles lobby, where it will be on display until November 28. But just like Brian Wilson, it'll never be the same down south.