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.
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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.
I posted last week about Banksy possibly stealing written material from Sean Tejaratchi in Crap Hound. Like most rumors, the truth is significantly less salacious. In fact, it sounds like this whole thing was just a big, sloppy misunderstanding.
I'm a fan of Banksy's work and was relieved to hear this. Apologies to him for any negativity our post sent your way.
It appears that the (kind of great) Banksy rant about advertising that's been going around lately is excerpted from his 2004 book Cut It Out and was actually written/inspired by Sean Tejaratchi circa 1999.
Here's a bit of Banksy's Piece from this year:
Fuck That. Any advert you see in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
...And here's Sean's from his piece in Crap Hound magazine in 1999:
If I see an ad without asking to, it's images are mine to reprint and redistribute, with clearance neither granted nor requested. ..Why should I ask my assailant's permission to keep a rock he's just thrown at my head?
Sean writes about all of the similarities here - it hardly seems possible that this is a coincidence.
Update 3/14: Sean just Tweeted "For the record: Crap Hound thanks appeared at the end of Banksy's book. Carelessness in layout years ago = Yes. Fraudulent? No. #banksy"Crap Hound #6: Death, Telephones & Scissors! on Kickstarter Encyclopaedia of Hell by Satan: book preview CRAP HOUND clipart zine #7: Church and State Crap Hound -- seminal clipart zine -- is back! The Weird World of Eerie Publications: exclusive image gallery Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society - exclusive excerpt Read the rest