Anti-capitalist London graffiti mysteriously removed, offered for sale in Miami for $500,000


82 Responses to “Anti-capitalist London graffiti mysteriously removed, offered for sale in Miami for $500,000”

  1. I don’t quite understand this:
    Where I come from “removing” graffiti means painting it over or using pretty strong detergents on it. Does that mean someone is trying to sell a dirty bucket of water plus chemicals? Or a photo of the piece? Or has someone actually removed a part of the wall and is trying to sell that? And does that mean poundland can now sue the owner because they have a whole in their store now?

    Edit: screw that, I should have just clicked the link … a piece of the wall it is, then. Also, it didn’t really disappear over night but the owner hired people to “work” on it for days.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      Just need a reader in London to visit the address and see if there is a big chunk of wall missing.

      People who loot mosaics from ancient sites will just hack away slabs of wall to do it.

    • aperturehead says:

      I bailed on the Banksy bus when I first saw Banksy postcards, key-rings and cute Banksy stationery for sale in Camden Market about five years ago. I think it was all unauthorised/bootleg goods, but still… it’s important sometimes to allow the bus to drive off without you.

      • There was a stand in Camden a year ago, I think called Purplegherkin. Talked to the owner: They actually gave a percentage to whichever artist was featured that week, and the guy seemed to know some of them. They still made most their money with Banksy stuff but paid mostly to artists less well-known. Since they insisted on using only quality or in some way eco-friendly material, they didn’t stay in business for long because tourists would just buy whatever they wanted where it’s cheapest, even if it was just scanned from a photo book and printed on whatever.
        … If I hadn’t talked to the guy, I’d never known this existed, and would likely have gone somewhere else where it’s cheaper, which shows the whole problem.

  2. Bevatron Repairman says:

    Assuming the guy who removed it is the guy who owns the building — and if Bansky didn’t get the building owner’s permission to place it there — and if he didn’t violate Poundland’s leasehold in the building to do it — I say hurrah on him.

    • Lemoutan says:

      If all your stipulations hold, I’d believe the owner very likely entitled to do whatever he liked with it (local conditions, bye-laws, etc being unknown to me). But I don’t believe I’ll yield a hurrah.

      • austinhamman says:

        yeah to use a perhaps extreme example:
        people selling slaves a long time ago were perfectly within their rights legally to capture and sell those people, but i don’t think i would cheer them doing it.
        same here, legal or not it’s a dick move.

        • Cleo says:

          Extreme? Hardly! The practice of capturing people like animals from their homelands and then trading them in markets thousands of miles away, sold as property without basic human rights… Why, it draws numerous parallels with the removal of artwork from a building. For one thing, it’s a dick move. Also, the historical repercussions of each will reverberate for centuries, with generations of the descendants of slaves (and walls) fighting for equality. There are others. Too many to list really.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Christ, what an asshole.

      • Bevatron Repairman says:

        Antonious, if you’d rather I just not comment here, please just say so.
        I like BoingBoing rather a lot and I’ve been posting on here for years and years and even though I don’t quite fit in politically — although I’m probably far closer to your view on more than you imagine — I think I’m mostly polite about my positions.  I’ve certainly never directed any vitriol at any other regular (or occasional) commenter.  If that’s not enough to pass middle management scrutiny, just let me know. 

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          You’ve made an obnoxious comment expressing your pleasure at something that has obviously made a lot of other people unhappy.  And now you’re butthurt at being told off for your greed-hate philosophy.  Excuse the shit out of me if your feelings are hurt.

    • acropunk says:

      Translation: ‘As long as everyone involved followed rules and regulations, hurrah.’

      Hope you never run a red light and become a hypocrite.

  3. trent says:

    It has been a good year for Irony.  Add this to the anarchist book store being firebombed and the pirates bay suing on copy right infringement.

  4. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    This just broke my irony meter

  5. duncancreamer says:

    So… graffiti’s okay now?

  6. Cleo says:

    What do you call graffiti that isn’t yours?
    Nacho graffiti.
    (Joke works better with cheese.)

  7. monsterflake says:

    how exactly was it removed? a gas-powered chop saw with a masonry blade? then what? custom framing at michael’s craft store? 

  8. doniphon says:

    Whodunit?  My “money” is on Mr. Brainwash.

  9. dunkum77 says:

    You can’t really class Banksy as ‘anti-capitalist’, surely?

  10. therantguy says:

    Banksy (or whomever) didn’t give the piece to the community, he painted it on somebodies property and that person was smart enough to remove it and will make a bundle off it. I have absolutely no problem with this. 

    • septimar says:

      I, on the other hand, have a problem with it. It was public British art, now it is stolen from the UK and will probably turn up in the cellar of a collector. Shameful.

      • owens4414 says:

        I like Banksy but this sort of thing is inherent in street art; you get to write on someone else’s wall, but they’ve the right to take it down/paint over it. If you want to make proper public art, get approval from the city council or negotiate a contact with the property owner (kind of takes the romantic illegality of street art disappear though).

        • wysinwyg says:

           The owner of the building is well within his or her legal rights.  That doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do.

        • eldritch says:

          You really think BANKSY can get public approval? The man protect’s his identity for a reason, ya know.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          …you get to write on someone else’s wall, but they’ve the right to take it down/paint over it.

          Yes, everybody was so upset about it being there that they installed a plexiglass screen to protect it.

          • owens4414 says:

            Hey, you’re preaching to the choir; I wish the piece were still there. But such is the bargain a street artist makes when they use another’s property as a free canvas, you get your art seen for all the (local) world but the owner’s the right to do with it as he pleases.

        • acropunk says:

          Yeah and if you want to end racial discrimination, get proper authorization before protesting it. The only way to change the system is by using the system and playing by its rules.

          • Madzia says:

            Seriously, you’re comparing racial discrimination with the right to have your own building painted the way you want to instead of how some random artist wants to?

  11. crimpers says:

    Exit from the Thrift Shop

  12. Gary Robbins says:

    I feel like the public will not suffer in losing such a glib visual metaphor. The only real loser here is the idiot who purchases this shallow, slapdash POS for 500,000 dollars. In fact, I think the purchase of this is a greater anti-consumerist performance than the piece itself.

  13. James Penrose says:

    Paint something on a thing I own without my consent or even a “by your leave” and I can do whatever I please with it.

    • retepslluerb says:

      Well, apart from copying…

    • Cleo says:

      It would seem that way. I wonder, though, about these British councils. They seem to think they have a lot of say over these types of visuals. I wonder how it compares to zoning, neighborhood associations, historic districting, and bylaws in various parts of the US which limit your right to do as you wish with your real property.

  14. timquinn says:

    It is not really ironic if it is already ironic to begin with. Banksy isn’t the moron you guys are making him out to be. Duchamp covered all this 100 years ago. Try to keep up.

  15. cservant says:

    So I guess the next piece would be irony themed?

  16. CliffordS says:

    This is like SAMO all over again.  Back in the 80s, sleazy opportunists would tear out Basquiat’s old graffiti tags all over NYC and sell them to private collectors.

  17. Tim Drage says:

    Banksy didn’t give the art to the community, he gave the owner of the building a large sum of free money by putting the art on their building (or maybe even by saying ‘yeah suuure that’s one of mine’ when they asked him via if some copycat piece was authentic )

  18. Carl_Brutanananadilewski says:

    I can only hope that Banksy does one of the two things: either buy it and give it back to the community, although obviously not at the place it was, or declare that it wasn’t his even if it was, which would mean the person who bought it from the building owner will be properly screwed because a work that you’re almost certain is a Banksy can probably get half a million but if Banksy himself declares it not his then it’s suddenly a piece of art by an unknown person and is worth a small fraction of that half million, which would send a great message to future buyers that if you buy a shadowy appropriated Banksy he will declare it not his and kill its monetary value. I’d really like to see him declare it not his, then buy at $10,000 to give back to community.

  19. Flashman says:

    The only way something like this would remotely acceptable and not completely shitty – in fact it would be hilarious – would be if a prized Banksy was removed only to reappear in the  National Archaeological Museum of Greece in Athens

  20. L_Mariachi says:

    Has Banksy even claimed authorship?  Because half a million bucks for a piece with no provenance…  Yeah, good luck with that.

  21. oswarez says:

    Doesn’t Bansky usually sign his pieces?
    And it’s fairly easy to copy the look of his most famous ones. I’d say that shelling out a half a mill for un signed stencil art is retarded.

  22. Madzia says:

    Well, I’d rather the art had remained where it was, especially since the community seemed to appreciate it, but when a graffiti artist (even banksy) paints on someone else’s property, he knowingly accepts several risks. One is being prosecuted. Another is having his work destroyed. The third- well, here it is, the owner of the ‘canvas’ making a profit from the unsolicited art.

    One can be upset, but there’s not much ground for righteous outrage. Just remember that without those risks, the art wouldn’t be such a big deal. The full effect is due to quality+message+placement+illegality. 

    • jansob says:


      I wonder how these protesters would feel if someone painted a trenchant, clever commentary on their car one night and they were then told that they couldn’t sell it, repaint it, or move to another neighborhood because people have grown accustomed to it.

      I like his work, and I would have left it there, but I wouldn’t disparage someone else from doing otherwise.

  23. Waltons, Koch Brothers, Jack Welch and Donald Trump will be in a a bidding war to crank that measly $500K up to a couple of mil in no time. 

    “Looks great in the foyer”

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