Banksy exhibition in Glasgow attracts record crowds

An exhibition by graffiti artist Banksy at Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art attracted 180,000 visitors during its 10-week run.

Gallery bosses said the artist's first official solo exhibition for 14 years broke box office records.

The exhibition, which closes on Monday, was also open during the night at weekends.

A message on the website for the "Cut and Run" exhibition says, "thanks Glasgow, it's been a blast".

The show was a behind-the-scenes look at the process of Banksy making his work, with original sketches on display as well as the stencils, which have been painted on to give them a new lease of life.

Banksy has not given a face-to-face interview since 2003 and has never revealed his true identity, but he is believed to be around 50 and from the Bristol area.

Gareth James, manager of the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, said: "Cut & Run has welcomed a new and diverse audience, from primary school pupils to octogenarians, from all areas of society and corners of the globe.

"Every day we open our doors to queues of hundreds of people waiting for walk-up tickets.

"Free community tickets and overnight opening hours have extended the museum's reach far beyond our usual scope."

Visitors were banned from using any form of camera at the exhibition but Mr James said this was not a problem.

He added: "We expected some resistance but in fact visitors embraced the no phones rule, enjoying the time and space to see the work unhindered."

A queue of people hoping to get tickets on the day had formed by 07:30 on Sunday
A queue of people hoping to get tickets on the day had formed by 07:30 on Sunday

The exhibition will now go on tour, with Banksy asking for suggestions for where it should go next in the world.

The large exhibition also includes a detailed model explaining exactly how Banksy managed to shred his Girl With Balloon painting during an auction at Sotheby's in London in 2018.

The work had just been auctioned for £1m, when an alarm went off inside the frame and the picture dropped into a hidden shredder.

A malfunction meant that the destruction stopped just over halfway.

Other exhibits included the Union flag stab vest worn by Stormzy when he headlined Glastonbury in 2019 and pieces previously only seen in Bethlehem in the West Bank, including a pillow fight between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian citizen.

Banksy exhibition in Glasgow
A new version of Kissing Coppers, which first appeared in 2004, is among the works on show in Glasgow

Banksy has held an exhibition in Glasgow previously though it was a far lower profile event.

He was a relative unknown when in 2001 he jointly put on Peace Is Tough at The Arches venue, with Jamie Reid, famous for his design work with The Sex Pistols.

The artist also revealed there was a reason why the exhibition was being held at Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art.

In a sign welcoming people to the venue, Banksy explained that he brought the show there because his "favourite work of art in the UK" is right outside.

He writes: "For anyone who isn't aware - the statue out the front has had a cone on its head continuously for the past 40 odd years. Despite the best efforts of the council and the police, every time one is removed another takes its place."