A very interesting article on Channel 4’s website and piece on the 7pm Channel 4 news on Monday. Read it if you are interested in the art market.
There’s no one quite like Banksy – the only street artist most of us have ever heard of it.Aside from the mystique that surrounds his identity (the Daily Mail claims to have unmasked him) his rise from the streets has brought him into conflict with the art market. One Notting Hill dealer accuses of him of being a control freak.
Our little excursion into the Banksy market was instructive.
Banksy has an outfit to sell his prints, Pictures on Walls in Commercial Street, and a sister organisation, Pest Control to authenticate everything. He has an agent and a publicist.
I’ll say two things about the article and video: 1. Who cares if Banksy’s a brand or whatever? Every successful artist does the exact same things to varying degrees. 2. Channel 4 should stop pretending that the media aren’t complicit in the Banksy hype that they’re now trying to call him out for. The BBC found the house where Banksy grew up and could have revealed his identity, but didn’t. The Daily Mail could probably do a hell of a lot better job “unmasking” the guy. And if the Channel 4 reporter Nicholas Glass was at the opening of Banksy versus The Bristol Museum and honestly didn’t notice that there was artwork for sale, he can’t be said to have been very observant at all. And of course, I include myself in being complicit building Banksy-hype and generally ignoring the odd bits like not authenticating street pieces or the fact that he works with a PR agency, but I don’t think I’ve ever pretended to not be part of that hype-machine. Oh, and I’ll add a third comment: 3. Yes, we should respect Banksy’s privacy and just let this thing run it’s course, it’s more fun that way.