Late last week, Los Angeles' Julien's Auctions announced it would help local nonprofit 555 Gallery offload a Detroit Banksy mural. The 7-foot-by-8-foot piece, once part of the grounds at the Packard Plant, depicts a boy holding a can of paint and the words "I remember when all this was trees." After simply cutting the mural free of the surrounding wall and driving away with it, 555 Gallery eventually settled with the plant's owner, purchasing the artwork for $2500. The mural, part of a collection of street art up for auction in September, joins another Banksy work, as well as pieces by other famous taggers including Shepard Fairey (aka, Detroit's most wanted alleged vandal), Space Invader and Ben Eine, among others.
Given that other Banksy pieces have gone for as high as $1.87 million, the mural could net the gallery more than double the purchase price paid for the entire Packard plant, as we originally reported. The crew at 555 removed the mural from the plant in 2010, shortly after its installation, without permission, and much to the outrage of many in the city who wanted the art to remain in its original context. While Detroiters have generally reacted unfavorably to the mural's removal and sale, 555 Gallery insists that all proceeds will benefit local artists, and help the gallery create studio space and programs for the public. Erik Garant, 555's operations director defended the sale to Motor City Muckraker last year, saying "Cash is not the goal. It's all about sustainability."
But what about Banksy's opinion? Representatives for the notoriously elusive British graffiti artist whose identity remains a mystery, told the Hamtramck Star "For the sake of keeping all street art where it belongs I'd encourage people not to buy anything by anybody unless it was created for sale in the first place." This was in response to an April Fool's joke in the form of a graffiti tag on a building in Hamtramck. The painting, a replica of Banksy's "Laugh Now," shows a horned monkey wearing a signboard that reads "Perhaps 666 was taken."
·Banksy Mural Could Sell For More Than Entire Packard Plant [Curbed Detroit]
·Top 25 Most Expensive Banksy Works Ever[Arrested Motion]
·Banksy mural for sale! Detroit gallery offers up rare find [Motor City Muckraker]
·2015 Street Art Auction [Julien's Auctions]
·Renowned street artist Banksy tags Detroit, ignites controversy [Auto Blog]
·555 Gallery & Studios
·Hamtramck Banksy Authenticated [Hamtramck Star]
·Detroit Says No to Extraditing Shepard Fairey After LAX Arrest [Curbed Detroit]