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Ian Hislop picks Banksy hoax for British Museum dissent show - Guardian UK

Graffiti artist’s Peckham Rock placed in museum as prank will feature among objects illustrating subversion

At the time it was somewhat embarrassing but 13 years after Banksy installed a hoax exhibit at the British Museum curators are finally seeing the funny side.

The museum has announced it has approached the artist to lend a piece [2nd img] formally known as Peckham Rock – a small “cave painting” of a stone-age hunter pushing a supermarket trolley. The artwork was left in the museum by Banksy, along with a convincing panel of text which earnestly explained it was from the “Post-Catatonic era”. It went unnoticed by staff for at least a day, possibly a lot longer.

The rock will be part of an autumn exhibition for which Ian Hislop [1st img] has gone through the British Museum’s vast collection to choose more than 100 objects which have stories of dissent, subversion or satire.

Hislop, the editor of Private Eye and described by the British Museum’s chairman Sir Richard Lambert as “the nation’s raspberry blower-in-chief”, said it had been enormous fun.

“We are very sneery about the past, we are very condescending about other cultures and other times and imagine that only we are brave enough, bright enough or sensible enough to notice there is something wrong with the way we’re governed,” he said. “The great thing about this exhibition is to show that people have always noticed.” 

3rd image: A pink knitted pussy hat worn at the women’s march in Washington in 2017 in protest at Donald Trump’s inauguration.

4th image: An Edwardian coin defaced by a suffragette with the ‘votes for women’ slogan.

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