Entertainment & Arts

Banksy artwork removed from Liverpool street to enter street art museum

Banksy's biplane, with the biplane missing
Image caption A notice has been posted where Banksy's biplane once was

A Banksy artwork has been removed from a car park in Liverpool so it can be installed in a new street art gallery.

The work, dubbed the Love Plane, was painted in 2011 and showed a biplane leaving a heart-shaped trail behind it.

The plane has now been removed from the wall of the outdoor car park on Rumford Street - but the heart has remained.

The plane will be displayed alongside other Banksy works from Liverpool in an indoor gallery specialising in street art in the city's Baltic Triangle.

The Sincura Group, which is known for removing, exhibiting and selling Banksy works, said it had removed the biplane.

The building that Banksy decorated is due for redevelopment and the biplane is being restored before it goes on show in its new home, the company said.

Sam Fishwick, a graffiti artist from Liverpool, dismissed the idea of a street art gallery. "It's not street art any more if it's hung up in a museum," he told the BBC.

"It's raw, it's gritty, it's on the street, it's not meant to be there. When you go and see it in a gallery it loses its charm, it loses its character."

Other works in the new gallery, named simply The Gallery, will include Banksy's gun-toting rat, which adorned the White Horse pub on Berry Street.

It was painted for the 2004 Liverpool Biennial art festival and was removed and restored but failed to sell at auction in 2014. The gallery will also contain a smaller rat, drawn to look as if it had painted the slogan "Never liked the Beatles".

Sincura is working with developers North Property Global to open the new gallery, billed as the UK's first street art gallery, in late 2017 or early 2018.

Image caption The Banksy biplane has been removed - but the heart has not

North Property Global founder Peter McInnes told BBC News the gallery was "a great chance to reclaim" art that was in danger of being lost.

Those involved in the gallery currently own six Banksys from the streets of Liverpool, he said, and "we've got our eye on another two or three which are around the city or have been restored or reclaimed".

The biplane's full heart is too big to extract, he explained. "The plan for the museum is to put the plane in there and replicate the heart directly in the museum."

Asked about the irony of moving street art indoors, he said: "It stirs a lot of emotions but my answer to that would be - the gun-toting rat, which is one of the biggest Banksys ever painted, would have been lost for ever.

"It was badly damaged and if we hadn't restored it, you'd have seen it in magazines and that's it. In the museum it would be seen by everybody and enjoyed by everybody."

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