4. Banksy Sneaks Own Art Into Major NYC Museum


For two weeks in March 2005, world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy made his mark on four major New York Institutions: The Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. Bansky snuck in his own work and using an adhesive, mounted them on the walls of these museums along side other famous works. He left one piece at each of these and they stayed up for about one day until guards noticed and removed them.

The works themselves were funny pieces but did not blow over well with some of the museum officials. Elyse Topalian, a spokeswoman for the Met said “I think it’s fair to say that it would take more than a piece of Scotch tape to get a work of art into the Met.” The work in question was a small, gold-framed portrait of a woman wearing a gas mask, was hung near paintings in the American wing. Each rogue piece in the museums came with an accompanying description.

So how did he get them into the museums? Apparently, Banksy came only during normal visiting hours. He explained to the New York Times that “you just have to glue on a fake beard and move with the times.” In a statement he gave to NPR, he researched Harry Houdini for ideas on how to get his works inside, many of which are really not that small. As to why he did the pranks, “I thought some of [the paintings] were quite good. That’s why I thought, you know, put them in a gallery. Otherwise, they would just sit at home and no one would see them.”