The artist Banksy took to the London Underground recently, disguised as an essential worker spraying down surfaces for safety, so that he could do An Art™️ about coronavirus. On July 14, Banksy posted a video to Instagram showing him making the piece, which is called “If You Don’t Mask, You Don’t Get,” but which should have been called “Tubethumping.” It depicted the artist’s signature trickster rats using a Circle Line train as their canvas and playground: They’re sneezing all over the place, using face masks as parachutes, and tagging Banksy’s name in “hand sanitizer.” The best part comes at the end of the video, as the sliding doors reveal a cheeky-hopeful little play on words: “I get lockdown/but I get up again.” As with other Banksy works, the message is hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-frying-pan clear: Respect lockdown measures and wear masks in public settings so you don’t spread your goopy-green coronavirus germs all over the place like these positively bubonic rats.
The public good of the piece was lost on Transport for London, though, which took a more “the medium is the message” approach and, graffiti being graffiti, removed the piece “some days ago,” before Banksy revealed that it was an authentic Banksy. A Transport for London source told the BBC: “It was treated like any other graffiti on the network,” and that the “job of the cleaners is to make sure the network is clean, especially given the current climate.”
More From This Series
- Some Drunk Arsehole Tried to Destroy a Banksy Mural
- A Wild Art Goose Chase in Belgium Ends With Banksy Works in the Slammer
- Banksy Claims That Painting Was Supposed to Be Totally Shredded