Unauthorised: Banksy has slammed an auction house in London for selling his art that were taken down from walls in public places without his prior knowledge and consent. Seen above is a gallery hand carrying 'Girl With Balloon', one of the pieces that were auctioned.
The reclusive British street artist Banksy disassociated himself from an exhibition of his urban art murals that have been removed from walls and put up for auction in London without his consent.
Among the seven works included in the exhibition called Stealing Banksy? and sale organised by the Sincura Group are Berlin Door, No Ball Games, Liverpool Rat and Girl With Balloon.
In a statement posted on www.banksy.co.uk, the artist, who has kept his identity a closely guarded secret and often paints his wall murals in the dead of night, said he had no connection with the sale. The statement can be seen below.
The statement has since been replaced with an unaccompanied image entitled Meat Truck, seen below.
The exhibition and sale have been organised by the Sincura Group, which is charging admission to see the works and says an auction using online and sealed bids will conclude on April 27.
Tony Baxter, the director of Sincura Group, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a selection of works by elusive British graffiti artist Banksy, including the Mariachi Player and his Rat stencils, are going on sale in June, a Beverly Hills auction house said.
It said it expects the piece to fetch between US$150,000 (RM490,000) and US$200,000, the highest valuation of the five works up for auction.
The news of the auction comes a day after Banksy put a statement on his official website slamming a London sale of his works.
A spokeswoman for Julien’s Auctions said all the five Banksy pieces were put up for sale by international collectors of the artist’s work. Their identities are being kept private, and the spokeswoman said she was not sure if Banksy himself is aware of the sale.
The Mariachi Player, a mural of a mariachi musician playing a guitar and bearing the artist’s signature, was stencilled with black aerosol paint on a wall in Mexico by the artist in 2001, Julien’s Auctions said.
Banksy’s Rat stencils will also hit the auction block in June, including the Anarchy Rat mural that was spray-painted onto the walls of a military graveyard in Berlin around 2003 and 2004. The auction house estimates it would sell for between US$50,000 and US$70,000.
Rapper Rat, stencilled on a piece of plywood that boarded a wall in Bristol, is expected to sell for between US$30,000 and US$50,000, and Gangsta Rat (seen below), spray-painted onto a triangular yellow car wheel clamp, between US$20,000 and US$40,000.
The final Banksy piece up for auction is the Bomb-Hugger (seen above, with Julien's Auction's warehouse manager, Ricky Limon), a stencil of a little girl hugging a missile with the word 'NO' painted on a piece of cardboard, valued between US$3,000 and US$5,000. The piece is one of many that were handed out by the artist during an anti-war protest in London in February 2003.
Many auctions and sales of his works have been mired in controversy because they were removed from their original site without Banksy's knowledge or approval. But the practice continues as Banksy’s works have been commanding higher prices as he has become better known to collectors in the US and continental Europe.
At a recent event in London held by an art exchange that allows investors to buys shares in works of art, one of the most sought-after pieces was a stencilled painting on canvas by Banksy called Heavy Artillery that features an elephant weighed down by a missile strapped to its back. Its 1,000 shares were listed at £120 (RM660) each.
A mural entitled Kissing Coppers sold for US$575,000 at a Miami auction earlier this year, while Flower Girl, which was painted on the side of a Los Angeles gas station, sold for US$209,000 in December. – Reuters