During the Jubilee, someone -- probably Banksy -- posted a graffiti mural on the side of a Poundland discount shop depicting a child working in a sweatshop sewing bunting with the Union flag on it. The mural attracted great attention in Wood Green, the district of London where it appeared, and local councillors took steps to ensure that it was not removed or painted over by overzealous city workers.
Then, one day, it disappeared. And reappeared in the catalog of Fine Art Auctions in Miami, with an asking price of $500,000. The auction house (which hasn't returned any press calls on the work) claims that it got the Banksy (or "Banksy") from a collector who assured them that it had been acquired through legal means. The Poundland shop says it had nothing to do with flogging the piece, and no one can get the building's owner on the phone.
Meanwhile, a piece of freely given art that decries capitalism and exploitation has been removed from the neighbourhood that was so proud of it, and is up for sale for half a million dollars in America.
Poundland, the store from which the artwork was removed, has tweeted that it is “NOT responsible for either selling or removing the Banksy mural,” adding that it does not own the building in question and has been unable to contact the owner so far to find out more, while local politician Alan Strickland has already launched a campaign for the artwork to be returned.
Talking to reporters, Strickland explained that “Banksy gave this art for free to our community, so we’re all angry that it’s been removed and put on sale for $500,000 in the U.S. We’re trying to track down who is responsible. We’re not certain who removed it, but we’re absolutely certain we want it back!”
Irony is not dead.
Banksy Work Cut Out of Wall, Offered at Auction for More Than $500K [Graeme McMillan/Wired]
In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who’ll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you.
In 2013, Lavabit — famous for being the privacy-oriented email service chosen by Edward Snowden to make contact with journalists while he was contracting for the NSA — shut down under mysterious, abrupt circumstances, leaving 410,000 users wondering what had just happened to their email addresses.
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg (who insists that privacy is dead) bought 100 acres of land around his vacation home in Hawaii to ensure that no one could get close enough to spy on him.
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