Banksy's 'Haight Street Rat' Returns

Banksy's 'Haight Street Rat' Returns

Photo: Instagram/Impermanent Art

Camden Avery
Published on January 22, 2015

Yesterday, January 21st marked the official (temporary) return to San Francisco of Banksy's 2010 installation now dubbed the "Haight Street Rat," also known more commonly as "the Banksy Rat."

The rat originally appeared in 2010 on the side of the Red Victorian Bed & Breakfast at 1665 Haight St., on the white wall above the roof of the corner bank building and facing east. It was accompanied on the north-facing side of the adjacent building with the text, "THIS IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE."

(Photo via Flickr/rocor)

The artwork originally appeared as one stop in a prolific San Francisco visit by the elusive celebrity graffiti artist

Now, the piece—removed from the side of the building with permission of then-Red Vic owner Sami Sunchild—is back in town at downtown art gallery 836M in a celebrated return to its city of origin.

At the time it went up, Sunchild considered the building vandalized. The art was salvaged from the side of the building by Brian Greif and installed on a big aluminum sheet, according to the Chronicle.

According to the terms of Greif's Kickstarter campaign, which raised funds to preserve the rat, the work is not for sale. However, it has been refused entry at major museums because it lacks the artist's letter of authenticity.

The great return to San Francisco is after four-plus years spent wandering, in which the rat's travels took it to Miami and (most recently) Los Angeles.

The irony of the piece sitting in an art gallery is not lost to its owner or people coming to visit it, we hope, in light of the "This Will Look Nice When It's Framed" piece that was part of the same tour

The Haight Street Rat will be on display in the window at 836 Montgomery St. from 8am-8pm through July 11th.