More than a decade after he cheekily stuck a fake artwork to the wall of one of its galleries,
Banksy has officially joined the collection
of the British Museum for the first time.
The museum has acquired its first work
by the anonymous graffiti artist,
a fake £10 banknote depicting Diana, Princess of Wales,
The work, entitled Di-faced Tenner, was one of thousands of copies in 2004 as part of a planned art stunt.
the museum, had been trying for years
to get hold of a genuine Di-faced Tenner
to add to the museum’s collection of “skit notes”,
or parodies of real banknotes.
“The problem is, because he was effectively producing them as photocopies, anyone else could do that as well,
so there was no way to really verify
whether they were from Banksy or not.”
The artefact would complement other objects held by the museum, as one made in 1820 by the celebrated caricaturist George Cruikshank, which depicted 11 people being hanged to illustrate the Bank of England policy at the time.
the banknote had been donated by
“someone who runs Banksy’s currency exchange”.
As well as showing Diana’s face instead of the Queen’s, the note has been altered to read “Banksy of England” and the motto: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the ultimate price.”
“There is a long history of political and social discourse through this type of protest which made us keen to acquire it,”
“Also, it’s a Banksy – why wouldn’t we want it? It’s an opportunity for us to have a work by an artist of that stature as part of a collection that people might not consider the typical respository for a work by Banksy.
“From our perspective, it joins a long list of artists who have created, adapted or destroyed currency for the purposes of their work.”
The artist described the origin of the Diana £10 notes , saying he had made £1m pounds worth,
planning to throw them off a building.
He had handed some notes out at Reading festival, but realised the stunt was backfiring when people started taking them to the bar to spend. “It was like, holy shit, we just forged a million quid, and obviously for that you’d go to jail for ten years.”
Distribution was speedily halted.