Round up all the Banksy pieces that have been hacked out of walls across the world and throw them together in one blockbuster show. It's a sure way to draw crowds—and controversy.
"Stealing Banksy?" opened today in London at the ME London Hotel and includes seven works that originally lived on the street. The show comes on the heels of two new Banksy murals that appeared in Bristol and London last week.
The exhibition was put together by the Sincura Group, who plans to auction off Banksy's pieces after displaying them in London. Previously, the organization was criticized for selling Banksy's Slave Labour for $1.1. million after it mysteriously disappeared from a wall in Poundland, England. The Sincura Group's director Tony Baxter said the company has not benefited financially from selling Banksy work and that it didn't "steal or condone any acts of vandalism or theft."
It's clear, however, that the Sincura Group did not get permission from Banksy to sell his work. In a message posted on his website, the street artist condones the unauthorized exhibition, calling it "disgusting."
The Sincura Group has estimated that Banksy's murals will sell at the following prices:
- No Ball Games - estimated value is £1m
- Old Skool - £750,000
- Liverpool Rat - £225,000
- Sperm Alarm - £150,000
- Silent majority - £175,000
- Girl With Balloon - £400,000
- 2 Rats - £200,000
While crowds may be clamoring for this chance to see some of Banksy's most famous pieces, the auction house Bonhams warns potential buyers that the works have not been authenticated. "People need to know what they are buying," said the director of the UK board of contemporary art at Bonhams, Ralph Taylor. "Bonhams and other auction houses would not entertain the selling of an artwork which doesn't have a certificate of authenticity."
As expected, the controversy over "Stealing Banksy?" has just added to the hype.
Paps and journos queue up for the grand unveiling of "Stealing Banksy" at ME Hotel. Will it live up to the hype? pic.twitter.com/SoBbPf2t1H— Anny Shaw (@annyleshaw) April 24, 2014
Silent Majority, 1998, is one of Banksy's earliest. Painted on a truck at Glastonbury, he has had free tickets since pic.twitter.com/1hNSnSK4zl— Anny Shaw (@annyleshaw) April 24, 2014