Saturday, January 26, 2019, was a sad day for Banksy enthusiasts. A mural painted on a fire-exit door at the Bataclan theater in Paris was stolen the night after it was painted, according to Reuters.
The mural depicted a woman, painted in white, with her head hanging under a veil. It is a picture that evokes a somber feeling which is not surprising as it’s backdrop is a black door nestled in a quiet cove at the location of one of the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. 90 people were killed at the Bataclan during that event.
The anonymous British artist claimed credit for this piece through an Instagram post, just before a group of thieves stole the entire door leaving the space bare. Upon learning of the theft, Banksy responded by writing “You can win the rat race, but you’re still a rat,” on the temporary wood door put in place after the burglary.
The concert hall broke the news through a Tweet stating: “We are today filled with a deep sense of indignation. The work of Banksy, a symbol of contemplation belonging to all—residents, Parisians and citizens of the world—has been taken from us.”
Banksy received notoriety because of his decision to remain unknown which forces the viewer, usually passersby on streets because his paintings are displayed on buildings, to pay direct attention to his art. He is also popular because of his unabashed comments on important issues, for example, Banksy’s piece titled Hammer Boy (2013) painted in Manhattan’s Upper West Side on 79th street, depicts a little boy bashing a hammer into the wall of the building. The Art Story explains the goal of the piece was, “to encourage viewers to envision urban spaces, surfaces, and objects differently, and to see fun and whimsy in otherwise mundane spaces.”
He is also controversial. In 2018, after his painting Girl with Balloon sold for $1.4 million at auction, he somehow shredded the piece through a frame. Banksy was apparently the mastermind behind the prank and as The New York Times reports it was a jest “to poke fun at the excesses of the auction market.”
Although there is no proof that Banksy stole this most recent piece, it can be predicted that all the hubbub will increase popularity among his works.