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Arts and Entertainment

Banksy Piece Rescued From San Francisco Will Be Displayed Downtown

Haight Street Rat being rescued (Photo via Save the Banksy)
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A Banksy piece rescued from a historic San Francisco building will be on display in downtown Los Angeles for free through November 28. The Haight Street Rat is one of two Banksy pieces left from a 2010 San Francisco tour Banksy went on during the premiere of the documentary Enter Through the Gift Shop. Now this rescued art piece will go on display for free in the lobby of the US Bank Tower from September 26 through November 28, according to Anastasiya Plotina of Hines Property.

The Haight Street Rat was supposed to be removed, like most of Banksy's work from the tour, to comply with a San Francisco graffiti ordinance. This particular rat had been painted on the side of the Red Victorian bed-and-breakfast on Haight Street, SF Chronicle reports. Art enthusiast Brian Greif asked the owner of the Red Victorian, Sami Sunchild, if he could make a deal with her to remove the siding and save the art. She agreed under the condition that he would not sell the piece. So, with the help of a woodworking company that had experience with historic buildings, he was able to safely remove the rat. Sunchild has since died at the age of 87, but Greif says he remains dedicated to keeping the promise, even as offers with huge price tags (some as high as $700,000) have floated his way.

The redwood panels the rat was initially painted on were restored via a Kickstarter campaign that is featured in the upcoming documentary Saving Banksy.

The piece originally had the rat holding a marker and drawing a red line that connected to a nearby building on the corner of Haight and Belvedere Streets. There, it appeared the rat had written, "THIS IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE." (You can see photos here.) The text was above a clothing store that was accused of selling T-shirts printed with street artists' work without giving the artists credit.

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The US Bank Tower will display the art for free to the public in the lobby until November 28. This same building, the tallest in L.A., recently announced plans to build an observation deck and a restaurant on the top floors.

Banky's Haight Street Rat. US Bank Tower, 633 W. 5th St., DTLA. September 26 through November 28. The lobby doors remain open outside of building hours, so viewers can stop by any time. Free.

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