Another Banksy street art to go from wall to auction – The Economic Times
Under cover of night, in 2008, Banksy, the pseudonymous British artist, stencilled a mural on a wall of a gas station in Los Angeles: the silhouette of a girl holding a basket of flowers and peering up at a security camera. About nine months ago, that £5,000, 9 by 8 foot chunk of brick wall was removed, and, in the latest of a string of controversial sales of Banksy street work, will soon be on the block. In December, Julien’s Auctions will offer Flower Girl, the first Banksy street art to be sold in the United States, the auctioneers said.
The gas station owner brought the wall himself, said Michael Doyle, the consignment director at Julien’s, which called the sale a “rare opportunity to own one of Banksy’s early large-scale graffiti murals,” made just as he was becoming the toast of the global art world. Doyle would not name the owner, but said the mural was installed with his permission after he was approached by Brainwash, a Los Angeles graffiti artist, to ask if “his friend” could work there. There was no mention of the name Banksy, but the image later appeared on his website. The high estimate is $300,000.
But there are signs that the work could fetch much more. This summer, Slave Labour, a Banksy mural behind a discount shop in London, was sold at a private auction there for $1.1 million. It depicted a barefoot boy kneeling over a sewing machine, stitching; real Union Jack fabric was attached to the wall. The stencil, which went up in May 2012, became a tourist attraction. In classic Banksy style, the piece had social and political undertones: The shop where it appeared, Poundland, had been embroiled in a controversy about selling goods produced using child labour. When Slave Labour disappeared from the building in February, Poundland, which was renting the property, denied that it had anything to do with it.
Slave Labour popped up in an online listing though an auction house, but the sale was halted after protests from street art aficionados, who contended that public works were not intended for private consumption.
It was eventually sold in London by the owners of the Poundland building. The Sincura Group, a concierge agency in London, handled the sale, and it is also behind the restoration and impending sale of another high-profile Banksy piece, No Ball Games, which was removed from a convenience store in the Tottenham neighborhood in London.
Proceeds from its sale will go to charity, Sincura has promised. At the English seaside town of Torquay, another Banksy wall piece was recently covered to protect it.
Ownership of street art has been a hot topic in the art world. Graffiti is, by its very nature, ephemeral, and in most places illegal. Many street artists expect that their work will eventually fade away or be painted over. But as the genre has grown in stature and value, inspiring museum shows and commanding stratospheric prices, enterprising property owners, with adorned walls, are seeing windfalls in a few tagged-up bricks. For his part, “Graffiti art has a hard enough life as it is,” Banksy has said, “before you add hedge-fund managers wanting to chop it out and hang it over the fireplace. For the sake of keeping all street art where it belongs, I’d encourage people not to buy anything by anybody, unless it was created for sale in the first place.”