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Did Banksy come to San Diego? The discovery late last week of a rat painted on the wall of an Oceanside taco shop in a similar style to the inscrutable British artist (who was up for an Oscar for his film “Exit Through the Gift Shop”) got some traction over the weekend.

The Union-Tribune describes the “rat wearing star-shaped sunglasses flying a kite emblazoned with the likeness of a traffic sign that warns of immigrant roadway crossings” and included the 28-year-old shop owner’s baffled response: “I’m not a graffiti guy, so I was going to paint over it.” Celebrity news site TMZ concludes it is Banksy.

But the rat didn’t show up on the artist’s official website. Artist and blogger Bryan Snyder lays out some compelling arguments for whether it’s Banksy or Fakesy? at (By Monday evening, Snyder had collected a majority of votes for “fakesy.”) Local artist Mike Maxwell, who’s steeped himself in a lot of the conventions of street artists, chimed in on Twitter:

fake. he would have found white or grey wall for a black rat.

Meanwhile, Imperial Beach wanted a piece of the debate.

You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly sizing-up of the news and views in local arts, from our pages and elsewhere. You can help us keep more people in the loop by sharing this sign-up link or befriending us on Facebook.

The Plight and Sights of the Museums:

• An inner circle at the beleaguered California Center for the Arts, Escondido, has been meeting over the past few days to brainstorm how to revitalize the institution. Among the conclusions reached Saturday: promote the center “among young people and among Latinos.” The center has run operating deficits in 13 of the 16 years since it opened. (North County Times)

• Associate curator Lucia Sanroman is leaving the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Her biggest projects were curating “Mix: Nine San Diego Architects” and “Here Not There: San Diego Art Now,” but she’s had a hand in many other of the museum’s biggest shows. (CityBeat)

• After more than tripling the budget of the San Diego Junior Theatre in Balboa Park over 14 years, Will Neblett becomes the executive director at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas. (NCT)

• Escondido’s History Center may face more funding cuts. (NCT)

• Escondido’s museum for kids changes its name to the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, (not to be confused with the New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego).

• A table at the Mingei International Museum “preserves ‘the soul of the tree.‘” (U-T)

• MCASD is one of two SoCal musems to present “Mexico Expected/Unexpected,” displaying pieces from one of Mexico’s “most comprehensive contemporary art collections.” (Orange County Register)

• Reader Fran Zimmerman took some friends to the San Diego Museum of Art and wasn’t sure what to make of the Howard Hodgkin paintings on display. Kevin Freitas, formerly behind the blog Art as Authority, agreed in part but concluded, “It’s a decent show and I’m glad San Diego has it.” Have your own thought? See their comments and share yours here.

Music and Autocracy:

• Roger Reynolds knows about structural integrity — in his former work as an engineer and now as an accomplished musical composer, on faculty at UCSD since 1969. (U-T)

• Local Shakespeare company sees parallels in current news out of the Middle East to Richard II, a poor dictator who doesn’t have the support of the people. (NCT)

• UCSD’s recent deal with L.A.-based Nederlander Concerts will bring at least six major concerts to the school’s RIMAC indoor arena, which seats 5,000. The school hosts more than 240 concerts each year, according to school officials.(U-T)

• Actor Andrew Samonsky, playing in La Jolla Playhouse’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” thinks the theater’s pit should get a nicer name, like “The Place Where All the Ridiculously Talented Musicians Are.” (U-T)

Celebrities and Spaces:

• Jazz cat Bucky Pizzarelli, receiving this year’s San Diego Jazz Party’s Living Jazz Legend award, once tuned Tiny Tim’s uke. (NCT)

• Instead of cars, North Park artist lends his garage to putting experimental art, like breast prints, on view. (CityBeat)

• A house-turned-gallery (where friends of mine live) opened a show of work by artists living in Golden Hill last week. (Habitat House)

On tap this week: Peter Rabbit, Chick Corea, the Vienna Philharmonic, a Brazilian festival and more. (NCT)

• City Ballet takes a few cues (and dramatic diversions) from the “Black Swan” film for its staging of two pieces from “Swan Lake” this weekend. (U-T)

• The Timken Museum’s director and an artist who collaborates with Robert Wilson discuss that artist’s intriguing celebrity portraits that reference old masters, on display now at the Timken, on These Days. (KPBS)

• Another piece proposed for the new central library that didn’t make it in my story (or the library budget, for that matter) is artist Ingrid Calame’s proposal to trace marks and stains from the old library, and weave the stories therein into the new building.


• A student in the Master of Fine Arts program at UCSD builds a startup to print a “real-life Facebook wall,” making physical prints from the photos of a user’s friends.

The artist “sees himself as a Robin Hood,” according to a Mashable article.

“We’re almost stealing money from our customers,” he says, “to reroute money into projects we believe in.”

Amy Smith contributed to this Arts Report.

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Please contact Kelly Bennett directly at or 619.325.0531 and follow her on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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