Art Miami Will Offer Banksy Work For Sale During Art Basel This Year
So what did we learn from last year's Banksy exhibit at CONTEXT Art Miami during Art Basel? Essentially, that commerce is king; though street art advocates blasted fair and the art owners for removing the pieces from their original homes, thousands of art lovers still flocked to CONTEXT to see the work of the buzzworthy graffiti artist with their own eyes.
Now, Art Miami is taking things one step further. According to Gothamist, it's bringing a new Banksy wall to Miami this December -- this time, with the intent to sell it.
The piece in question, informally known as the "Red Hook Balloon," appeared on a wall in New York City's Red Hook neighborhood on October 7, during Banksy's month-long residency in the Big Apple. The stencil shows a red, heart-shaped balloon covered in bandages.
The owner of the work is Stephan Keszler, the New York gallery owner who controversially acquired a pair of Banksy works from walls in Bethlehem in 2011. Banksy's authentication team, known collectively as Pest Control, publicly admonished Keszler, complicating his plans to sell the works and canceling a planned exhibit of the works at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2011. CONTEXT Art Miami put the walls on display the next year.
Keszler told the New York Times that he purchased the Red Hook Balloon from the owner of the building on which it originally appeared; he is in possession of the piece, meaning it's already been cut out of the wall in Red Hook. The work was tagged by another graffiti artist before it was removed, but Keszler still estimated its value between $200,000 and $400,000.
Last year, we figured that Banksy was probably not cool with having his formerly public work uprooted and shipped halfway around the world to be shown at a ticketed event. This year, in light of Banksy's revelation that "commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist," we're guessing he's extra pissed that it'll be on display with a hefty price tag.
There's just one silver lining: Unlike some other "Bansky" designs that have landed in Miami lately, we can at last be pretty sure that this one's the real thing.
Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.
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