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us only with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.´ That Banksy can be quoted as saying this without an apparent trace of irony or self-reflection sums up all that irritates me about him. His current exhibition at the Bristol Museum makes this quote even more painful. The exhibition is called Banksy vs. Bristol Museum - Sticking it to the Man as always, right, Banksy? He¶s quoted in the Bristol Post as saying ³I could have taken the show to a lot of places, but they do a very nice cup of tea in the museum.´. It¶s so µselfdeprecating¶ and µself-aware¶ and µironic¶ that it makes me want to scream. ³Oh, you know, like, galleries man«my art¶s all about the street and the people and shit, I wuz only going in to use the bog but then they lured little old me in with a cup of tea´. Banksy has been quoted as clearly stating that gallery shows are a step backwards ± so why do them? The exhibition is free and un-copyrighted so money doesn¶t seem hugely central. To get his µmessage¶ across? But he¶s also been quoted as saying that ³Graffiti has more chance of meaning something or changing stuff than anything indoors.´ Firstly, graffiti can be read as a power tactic used by the underprivileged in order to find a way of expressing themselves in a structure that does not recognise them as valid, relevant entities. By working with those in power, I fail to see how his various ³anti-´ messages are not contaminated. If the socio-cultural elite are allowing you into their sphere, are you really achieving your goal? Or are they conferring a patronisingly moderate amount of µlegitimisation¶, agreeing nicely that your work is palatable with a spicily piquant side order of anti-authoritarian edginess but without the ring-sting of meaningful accusation, challenge and calls to action? Secondly, his messages are just not that bloody clever. They¶re quite clever but not that clever. A friend mentioned a piece called Angel of The North and instantly, I was able to summarise what it was before she described it (It¶s a Greek-style statue, staggering home in a tube top and miniskirt holding her shoes with takeaway wrappers littered around ). It¶s about, you know, like, how like, you might look down on a drunk slag but you know, sometimes, at the same time, underneath, she¶s also, like, an angel?. Ditto the animal rights pieces, such as the rabbit in a cage putting on makeup. It¶s clever because, you know, the rabbit is putting on makeup. And, you know, usually rabbits have makeup put on them. It¶s clever. This tactic of faux-naive-but-still-naive simplicity (³How could we have not so clearly understood these glaring acts of oppression and under-privilege before?! My goodness, are we all blind?´) is so horribly teenage and condescending and first-order. Banksy has exhorted us to ³Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a fucking sharp knife to it [sic].´ And yet here we see him cutting out ³OMG U SUCK´ out of the box with round-ended kiddy scissors handed to him by the adults. Let me be clear, I do enjoy his work. It¶s interesting-looking enough to make my head turn and then grunt appreciatively in recognition. But this masturbatory worship of him, inspired by the recognition that here¶s someone else who, you know, thinks about stuff makes my ears steam. With every gallery show Banksy takes part in, he shows just how much a part of the modern art world he is, clumsily and boringly making the epigraph above an obituary to his efforts whilst nestling down quietly into his box like a good boy.