As part of Banksy's "Better Out Than In" New York residency, the Bristol street artist donated an altered canvas to a Housing Works thrift store in New York. Housing Works, a charity for people suffering from AIDS, HIV, and homelessness, auctioned off Banksy's painting, The Banality of the Banality of Evil, for $615,000 on Oct. 31.
The winning bidder, who goes by the username "gorpetri" on Bidding For Good, never made good on his bid, however. Talking Points Memo reached out to Housing Works' Chief Development Officer Matthew Bernardo who said, "We are still looking into why he defaulted, and we reserve the right to sort of see what we're going to do with it. But we were really looking to close the transaction so we could put the money to use." Housing Works found a new buyer after reaching out to over top bidders in the auction.
One of those bidders, Wil Emling, claims that Bernardo had revealed to him that Housing Works knew they had a Banksy piece on their hands before being notified by Banksy's people. According to reports, however, Banksy bought the original canvas for $50 sometime before Oct. 29 and re-donated the altered version without Housing Works' knowledge.
Bernardo denies the claim that Housing Works was in the know. "I certainly know that we didn't know in advance that we were getting this," he told Talking Points Memo.
Housing Works was able to sell the canvas for an undisclosed amount to another buyer, and hopefully the sale was able to rake in big bucks for the charity.