Vandals target Banksy piece outside Java Cow
Vandals have targeted the most famous of the Banksy graffiti pieces in Park City, spray painting over part of it with black paint and leaving their own mark just above the Banksy piece.
The image is located on the south-facing wall of the Java Cow building, 402 Main St., and it shows someone crouching with a video camera apparently filming a flower that is also part of the Banksy creation.
The vandals darkened the image with black paint sprayed over the Banksy paint. They also spray-painted the word ‘You’ just above the image.
The Park City Police Department received a complaint about the vandalism at 7:14 a.m. on Sunday. According to police logs, the person who contacted the Police Department said they were "very upset" that someone put their own graffiti on the Banksy.
The person, who was not identified, told the police the Banksy was defaced in the overnight hours of Saturday or Sunday, but a precise time is not known. The Police Department classified the case as criminal mischief, according to police logs.
Phil Kirk, a police captain, said a sergeant on regular patrols noticed the graffiti on the Banksy piece as well. The sergeant asked a patrol officer to investigate, Kirk said.
Ken Davis, who owns Java Cow, was unavailable for comment early in the week.
The vandalism will be disappointing to Banksy fans and others who want to preserve the pieces that the guerrilla artist left in Park City in January.
Banksy traveled to Park City for the premiere of his movie "Exit Through the Gift Shop" at the Sundance Film Festival. His artwork created an unusual amount of buzz even for Sundance when it appeared at the start of the festival.
Since then there have been efforts to preserve most of the pieces, and Java Cow had installed a protective piece of plastic over the Banksy to preserve the image. The plastic, though, had been damaged since it was put up, with a portion of the plastic guarding the Java Cow Banksy having been cracked off. Java Cow by Tuesday morning had rested a large wooden plank over the Banksy for protection.
The other Banksy pieces have not been targeted in the same fashion, although officials had a large piece that was placed on a City Hall-owned shed along S.R. 224 removed. Park City normally removes graffiti soon after it is found, but another Banksy that was put on public property has been preserved for now.
The Java Cow piece quickly turned into an attraction for Banksy fans and others who appreciate his artwork. Numerous people have been seen taking pictures with the Java Cow piece or stopping to contemplate the image.
The Public Art Advisory Board, a City Hall panel that has a role in artworks that are on municipal property, touched on the Banksy pieces at a meeting on Monday, with one of the panel members wondering whether the piece at Java Cow could be restored. There was also a statement, though, that the piece is privately owned.
Rhoda Stauffer, a member of the panel, wondered if people would be as attached to the pieces if another artist made them.
"What if Bansky wasn’t famous and his art was ugly," she said.
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