Banksy choosing Glasgow as home for their first solo exhibition has brought a refreshed spotlight on the city as a place of cultural and artistic importance.  

The artist picked Glasgow for a reason - naming the Duke of Wellington statue with its traffic cone hat as his favourite piece of art in the UK.  

The stature of such an artist staging an exhibition in Glasgow speaks for itself, and has attracted numerous famous faces to the Gallery of Modern Art. 

Banksy kept things authentically Scottish with the celebrities they chose to present a guided tour of the show in a video shared on the artist’s official instagram. Comedians Frankie Boyle and Christopher Macarthur-Boyd were invited to take a first look. 

Boyle starts the video by reading aloud the note he received from Banksy: “Dear Frankie, I have an exhibition opening in Glasgow, and wanted a leading cultural figure from the city to come and review it.  

“Unfortunately, they weren’t available. Would you mind doing it?” 

The pair joke their way around the exhibition without failing to take in its wider points about the world - in the same way that the thousands of others who have been through GoMA’s doors over the summer have also done. Banksy scatters pieces of humour around his statements about politics and injustice. 

Read more: Banksy Cut & Run: Behind the scenes with exclusive new images

As well as big names native to Glasgow, Banksy became a stopping point for some of the world’s biggest names while they were in the city. Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker made time to get his glimpse of the slice of art history during his trip to headline Glasgow Green’s TRNSMT Festival.  

Hollywood actor Johnny Depp also made an appearance while he was in the city playing a night at the Hydro with his band.  

Glasgow became engulfed in Banksy fever - with pieces of graffiti popping up across the city raising speculation every time as to whether it had been the work of the mysterious artist themself.   

One such example was the rat - a signature symbol of Banksy - which popped up in an alleyway wearing a bowler hat and banging a drum with the words ‘God Save the King’ inscribed - a clear jibe to Orange Order parades.  

While in most cases it became clear it hadn’t been Banksy - it brought a new spotlight on street art in the city, and perhaps people started to pay more attention to the work of Glaswegians on the city’s walls that prior to the exhibition they may have simply walked past. 

Banksy’s art is political and the exhibition was not untouched by other conversations going on in Scottish civic life over the summer - climate protest group This is Rigged which has carried out disruptive direct action across the country replaced the traffic cone outside GoMA loved by the artist with a cone displaying their own logo. 

The name ‘Banksy’ has taken over Glasgow this summer - and the city has been seen in a new light by locals, celebrities, and those who travelled from afar to see it. 

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