Melbourne Art Series Hotels Encourage Art Theft with Banksy Contest

by  Lindsay Neff | Dec 27, 2011
Olsen Studio Suite
Olsen Studio Suite / Photo courtesy of the property

Aspiring art thieves, I’ve got good news for you – you can legally hone your thievery skills in Melbourne, Australia, at least until January 15. Melbourne’s Art Series Hotels (the Cullen, the Olsen, and the Blackman, each of which are designed around the work of iconic Australian artists) are about midway through a contest that encourages you to steal the art right off the walls. Well, some of the art, anyway. The hotels are (rather fittingly) currently offering up “Pulp Fiction” by renowned England-based graffiti artist Banksy, if you can steal it.

The artwork can only be stolen by a pre-paid guest of one of the hotels staying any time through January 15th, and only the Banksy piece is up for theft. The full terms and conditions can be found here, but notable rules include: “Be cool. Art thieves are always cool,” “Look the part- we prefer it if you are wearing black tie or a really stunning frock,” and “Banksy we really don’t want you to steal it. It would just be too twisted so please don’t.”

The first piece up for theft, (“No Ball Games,” also a Banksy), was stolen on Monday, December 19, by Maura Tuohy, who rather cleverly posed as a PR representative of the Art Series Hotels and told the staff of the Blackman Hotel that she was there to move the painting to one of the other hotels. The staff, of course, was suspicious, but since Maura provided the number of another PR agent (who was actually her accomplice, Megan Aney), to verify her story, Maura was escorted to her vehicle with the piece. She returned fifteen minutes later to announce her victory.

So if you find yourself in Melbourne in the next few weeks, go stay at an Art Series Hotel ( and steal a Banksy! Even if you get caught, it’s still a great story, right?

Be sure to check out our Melbourne travel guide, and then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to plan your trip.

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