What's buzzing:

Fourth-Place Medal

London could destroy Banksy’s valuable Olympic graffiti

Fourth-Place Medal

While London and the world is enthralled with Olympians showing us what they worked their entire lives for, there will be distractions that take the focus away from the athletes. One individual who isn't competing in the Games but is sharing the Olympic spotlight is London-based street artist and Oscar-nominated documentarian, Banksy.

On Monday, Bansky posted photos on his website of his latest works: "Hackney Welcomes the Olympics" and "Going for Mould." Both stencils, locations unknown, are Olympic-themed and may trouble the International Olympic Committee which maintains an iron fist over Olympic branding, not to mention the British Transport Police (BTP), which have been busy arresting alleged street artists and banning them from coming within a mile of any Olympic venue.

[ Photos: Olympics-inspired art ]

The Guardian reported last week that the BTP had begun a pre-emptive sweep of alleged graffiti artists in preparation for the London Games. Street artists in London have also told the BBC that, "walls which they say have not been touched in years are now being cleaned off."

If and when Bansky's new pieces are found, officials may want to think twice about removing the world-renown artist's work. In March, 18 original Banksy artworks sold for over $619,000 at an auction in London. In the ever-present battle of street art vs. vandalism, Banksy's form of self expression has grown from being viewed as a criminal act into a valuable commentary on society.

[ Photos: London's Olympic venues ]

Helen Bingham of Keep Britain Tidy, an environmental charity and anti-litter campaign for England, told the BBC, "There's a difference between low-grade tagging and the work people like Banksy do … You have to look at it and know the difference -- it's not a black and white thing."


From The Guardian's Jonathan Jones:

Tourists don't come to London for shining perfection. They come for old and new in chaotic ungainly juxtaposition. And they come, partly, for Banksy. The prince of street art is our most famous contemporary artist, however much the moneyed art world would like to believe otherwise. Banksy postcards and canvas Banksy reproductions sell alongside royal memorabilia in London — West Country man as he may be. So how is the Olympics benefiting London by enforcing a clean-up of its most globally recognized art movement?

This is not just about the freedom of a few artists to mess up the pristine Olympic bubble. It is about the identity of London.

On Banksy's website there is a frequently asked questions page in which the street artist answers critics who say his work is "crass, dumb and simplistic." Bansky's response is that they are correct. "Most of this stuff is designed to be viewed from a moving vehicle."

Elite Athlete Workouts:

Related Olympic content on Yahoo! Sports:
Middletons investigated by Olympics committee
Photos: Moment of silence for Munich victims
Photos: Aussie hurdler's sexy warm-up routine

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (17)
  • Sherwood confident he can turn around Villa's fortunes

    Sherwood confident he can turn around Villa's fortunes

    Manager Tim Sherwood has taken responsibility for Aston Villa's abysmal form this season but says he is confident he can turn their fortunes around. Villa have failed to win since beating promoted Bournemouth on the opening weekend and are third … More »

    Reuters - 26 minutes ago
  • Chelsea give under-fire Mourinho their 'full support'

    Chelsea give under-fire Mourinho their 'full support'

    (Reuters) - Premier League champions Chelsea have given their full backing to under-fire manager Jose Mourinho following the team's torrid start to the season. "The club wants to make it clear that Jose continues to have our full support," read a … More »

    Reuters - 26 minutes ago
  • IAAF will do everything to protect clean athletes - Coe

    IAAF will do everything to protect clean athletes - Coe

    By Amlan Chakraborty NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Athletics has been at the forefront in the fight against doping and its world governing body will do everything to protect the clean athletes, president Sebastian Coe said on Monday. The twice Olympic … More »

    Reuters - 27 minutes ago
  • U.S. make wholesales changes for Springboks clash

    LONDON (Reuters) - United States coach Mike Tolkin has made 12 changes for his side's third Rugby World Cup Pool B game against South Africa on Wednesday. Only prop Phil Thiel, number eight Samu Manoa and fullback Blaine Scully have retained their … More »

    Reuters - 29 minutes ago
  • Chelsea gives public backing to Mourinho

    Chelsea gives public backing to Mourinho

    Chelsea has taken the unusual step of publicly endorsing its belief in manager Jose Mourinho following the team's disappointing start to the season. In a dreadful start to the defense of its title, Chelsea is 16th in the 20-team Premier League … More »

    AP - Sports - 30 minutes ago