Banksy work from his New York residency series ‘Better Out Than In’ is to be offered for sale in Miami during Art Basel week. The works consist of an inflatable heart shaped balloon with band-aids, and a painted car door. The first has been painted on a 1,500-pound (680kg) wall hacked from a Brooklyn warehouse and presented as gallery art. The second offering is a painted car door with a classical figure with horses. They are both thought to be priced with six figure tags attached.
Street-art enthusiasts have publicly declared that the works belong to the public and should not be sold as the artist will not receive any financial reward from the sales. It is also clear that Banksy does not want his street art sold and will not authorise the sale in his catalogue raisonne administered by Pest Control.
“It’s Banksy mania,” said Stephan Keszler, a dubious New York gallery owner, known for offering the owners of the buildings where Banksy has created his work cash to allow his ‘harvesters’ to rip the murals from the buildings. Keszler has been criticised in the past for selling Banksy works that are public art. The current pieces could sell for as much as $800,000.
Banksy is an unconventional UK graffiti artist whose work typically includes satirical social and political commentary, and ranges from murals to sculpture and installation, often playing with the contextual aspects of the work. The artist’s first solo show was held in 2002 at Los Angeles’ 33 1/3 Gallery, and in 2003 he was commissioned to design to cover of Blur’s ThinkTank. Today, Banksy’s work appears internationally; most notably, he painted nine sardonic images on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier. In Summer 2009, Banksy took over the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery with an exhibition attracting over 300,000 visitors and hour-long queues all the way down the road.