Artworks
Policemen Kissing

Contributor

In proper British English this Banksy piece is called "Kissing Coppers."

It's a block from the Brighton train station and more than a century from the station’s 19th century grandeur. Two cops in full uniform, with funny hats, truncheons and handcuffs -- have a passionate kiss. For the thousands of commuters and tourists who flow out of the station’s underpass tunnel each day, is the kiss a work of defiance against proud hetero cops, or a symbol for gay rights? Its vintage Banksy. Don’t assume anything. Question everything. A piece of provocative urban subversion.

But this being Brighton, England's answer to San Francisco, the kiss was celebrated. Real policemen even came down and snapped selfies with the kissing pair shortly after it went up on the pub's wall! Unfortunately, not long thereafter the stencil was graffitied over. Two miscreants were apprehended and fined £40 each for vandalism. From this we conclude that in England, vandalism is when you graffiti over graffiti which is art!

See this graffiti was on private property. The bar's owner, the appropriately named Chris Steward, paid several times to restore and protect the work but eventually got fed-up and ran short on cash. He reportedly accepted somewhere between between £1/2 million to £1 million from a New York art gallery for the relevant piece of his exterior wall. So much for public art.

The stencilled work was replaced by a copy and covered with Perspex for protection from the elements. How is a copy different from a stencil? I don't know. And Banksy, whose father was a photocopier engineer, undoubtedly appreciates the weirdness of it all.

In 2012 a trio of respected graffiteers sprayed up a massive tropical looking mural of dead musical heros around the copy of Banksy's black and white stencil. The two loving policemen are now a diminutive presence in a jungle of giant heads...surrounded by a youthful Bob Marley, Freddy Mercury, Amy Winehouse and other musicians.