Australian Hotel group encourage guests to try and steal Banksy artwork without being detected by security
This summer, Australia’s Art Series Hotels is offering the public the chance to steal $15,000 Banksy artwork No Ball Games – one of very few signed and authenticated Banksys available Down Under. From 15th December, guests to the Melbourne Art Series Hotels will be invited to try and steal the work from off the wall: if they succeed, it’s theirs to keep; but, if they get caught on CCTV or in person, the artwork has to be returned. It will tour the three Melbourne Art Series hotels, each named after a prominent artist, The Cullen, The Olsen, and The Blackman.
This is a PR campaign with a difference that saw the hotel group purchase the Banksy print No Ball Games specifically for its purposes. Will Deague, head of Asian Pacific Group, which owns and operates the Art Series Hotel Group, was initially sceptical of the scheme. ‘When they first pitched it to me’, he explained, ‘I thought, oh God, everyone will be trying to steal every bit of art work, and then I was worried that people would come in and tear the hotel apart looking for it’ – ‘I thought someone might think it was up in the ceiling or something’.
He eventually came round to the idea, however, seeing that it was ‘a bit of fun to create some attention, and that would be a good way to use social media like our Facebook page and Twitter’. Furthermore, ‘It’s a quieter time of the year for that month and this will help to kick it along’.
This is an exciting opportunity for hotel visitors, evidenced in the difficulty the group had in ‘trying to get our hands’ on a Banksy, and it taking over a year ‘because they are so scarce’. In the words of street art expert and editor of Invurt Magazine, Fletcher Andersen: ‘The chance to own one of his works is a great opportunity, and more than worthy of a heist attempt’; ‘Banksy has helped to place a global spotlight on the street art genre, transformed multiple urban spaces and become a household name in the process’.
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