Walker Art Gallery displays statue of priest vandalised by Banksy

Ahram Online, Saturday 17 Dec 2011

The renowned graffiti artist has sawn off the face of an 18th century replica stone bust and glued on a selection of bathroom tiles in his latest statement


On 15 December, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool unveiled a new addition to its collection: a statue of a priest vandalised by Banksy.

The resulting "pixellated" portrait is entitled Cardinal Sin and is believed to be a comment on the sexual abuse scandal in the Church and its subsequent cover-up.

“I’m never sure who deserves to be put on a pedestal or crushed under one,” said Banksy.

The sculpture, which has been loaned indefinitely by the artist and has never been seen before, will be exhibited in one of the Walker’s 17th-century Old Master galleries.  Works in the gallery include large church altarpieces and religious sculpture.

Reyahn King, director of art galleries at National Museums Liverpool said: "We are thrilled to display the work of this major contemporary artist. It is a huge coup and we're sure his work will spark a reaction with visitors. Banksy specified that it be shown alongside our period collection and we were very happy to oblige.”

Home to outstanding works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Poussin and Gainsborough, the Walker Art Gallery is one of the finest art galleries in Europe. The collection includes Renaissance masterpieces, Tudor portraits and one of the best collections of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art in the country, such as Dante’s Dream by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The Walker also houses modern and contemporary work by artists such as David Hockney, Louise Bourgeois and Lucian Freud and is home to the John Moores Painting Prize, the UK’s biggest painting prize.

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