Jón Gnarr & Banksy: The Saga Continues - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Jón Gnarr & Banksy: The Saga Continues

Published November 22, 2018

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Baldur Kristjáns

Former Reykjavík mayor, comedian and writer Jón Gnarr has attempted to deal with the kerfuffle surrounding his ownership of a Banksy print in a creative way, and the artist themselves has reportedly come to his defence.

As reported, when Jón posted a selfie on Twitter that had hanging in the background Banksy’s famous “Flower Thrower” work, many observers believed this was a Banksy original that had been gifted to the Office of the Mayor, and therefore had no place being in Jón’s home. While Jón explained that it was actually a fairly inexpensive print of the work that was gifted to him personally, that did not do much to assuage many of his critics.

As such, Jón opted to take matters further. After revealing on Facebook that he intended to take the print down, he later posted a video showing that the print was not only taken down but also powersanded to a flat white surface.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Marta Guðjónsdóttir, a city councilperson for the Independence Party, was amongst the city officials for her party, and the Centre Party, who put forward a proposal in City Hall calling upon the city to examine whether or not Jón owes any damages to the city for destroying the print, which they contend rightfully belongs in the Mayor’s Office.

Jón later tweeted that he has received support from the artist themselves.

“Got a message from Banksy earlier,” Jón tweeted. “She says that if I am charged with anything for destroying her work that she will send me a new one! Breathing easier and heading worry-free into the day. Have a good weekend!”

What has caught most peoples’ attention about this tweet isn’t that Banksy is in Jón corner here; rather, it was the choice to refer to Banksy as “her”, going against the common narrative that the unknown artist is one of several choices of possible men.

As it stands today, the matter appears to have died down. Reykjavík City Council is not filing charges against Jón at the time of this writing, and so it is entirely possible that this is the last we’ll be hearing about whether or not an inexpensive print gifted to an elected official is their personal property or belongs in the building where they once worked.

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