Remember that "Stealing Banksy?" exhibition that everyone, including Banksy, thought was a bad idea? Well, the Sincura Group (the concierge company responsible for removing the art from the streets and hosting the exhibition) claims that they never intended to sell the art.

A statement on their website says that they remove the pieces to preserve and restore the work, otherwise the art "simply would not be around in five years time." The company also says, according to The Art Newspaperthat the exhibition was not a selling auction, but a way to "gauge public opinion for a potential museum" with rolling exhibitions, starting with the Banksy works. The street art world called bullshit because the announcements for the exhibition included prices, but The Art Newspaper spoke with the founder of The Old London Underground, Ajit Chambers, and he confirmed that they have been in talks with the Sincura Group for "at least a year." 

There is still the possibility that the art will be sold, but the buyers would have to agree to loan the works to the museum for the planned exhibition. The recently redesigned Stealing Banksy? site includes a video with some of the press that they have received over the past few months, so it seems like one big scheme to build buzz, and it actually worked, if you don't count the continued backlash for removal of the art in the first place. Too bad Mana Contemporary already called dibs on the whole "first street art museum" thing.

RELATED: The Curator Responsible For Removing and Selling Banksy's Art Talks Ethics and Legality 
RELATED: The "Stealing Banksy?" Auction Has Not Benefited the Charities That it Promised to 

[via The Art Newspaper]