Banksy’s “Girl with Umbrella” is under a little more cover than usual, and Marigny residents are concerned about where she might be heading. On Friday morning, a U-Haul pulled up to 1428 North Rampart, four men exited, and spent the remainder of the day using power tools in an attempt to remove the internationally-known street artist’s iconic “Girl With Umbrella.”
After attracting the attention of neighbors, the group left the area, and the piece of art. The work was cut from the wall in several places, but still intact.
According to neighbors who were keeping watch at the scene Friday evening, the group’s first step was to construct a barrier out of plywood and (fittingly) blue tarps around the corner of N. Rampart and Kerelec. The makeshift structure blocked any view of the the former home of the Community Drop-In Center and the Banksy on the building’s wall. No permits are posted.
Resident Corbett Scott said the group then spent several hours sawing through the cinder block and re-bar in the wall. The section of the wall containing the artwork was the only area that the men were attempting to cut.
By 4 p.m., the activity attracted the attention of several other neighbors who walked over to investigate. One member of the group of concerned citizens, who identifed himself only as Clay, asked the men about their activities.
The workers told the assembled neighbors that they were removing the piece in order to donate it to “the museum.” They said they were doing so with the owner’s permission. When the group grew and the questions continued, the workers abruptly packed up and left.
NOLA Defender was unable to identify or contact an owner of the building. Representatives from the New Orleans Museum of Art and Ogden Museum of Southern Art both said their institutions had no plans to acquire the work.
The street art stencil, which first appeared in 2008 before the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood, has been tagged over by graffiti vandals on at least two occasions. The most recent defacing occurred on the last day of 2013. The red paint used to cover over the art work was later cleaned.
Other New Orleans pieces by the British artist included depictions of a girl flying a refrigerator shaped as a kite, a homeless Abraham Lincoln pushing a shopping cart and National Guardsmen liberating a TV from a building on Elysian Fields Ave. Several of the pieces were covered over by vigilante graffiti combatant The Gray Ghost (aka Fred Radtke).
NoDef could not discern whether there was any damage to the stenciled fish on the sidewalk below. The fish are the work of San Francisco street artist Jeremy Novy.