Banksy‘s Slave Labour mural is back at auction. It and another piece (Wet Dog) were up for sale at an art auction in Miami back in February, but both pieces were withdrawn at the last minute after intense media attention, outcries from the local community where the piece used to be located, and speculation as to the legality of the wall’s removal. For more background on the original sale, read this post from February.
This time, Business Insider (your news site for all things Banksy) is reporting that the Slave Labour wall is being sold at a private event scheduled for June 2nd at the London Film Museum. While Business Insider claims that the piece could sell for as much as £450,000, I think that’s a bit high. Yes, street pieces might one day be valuable, but so far Banksy’s street pieces have failed to reach anywhere near the price that his gallery work has sold for, presumably at least in part because Pest Control refuses to authenticate street pieces. For £450,000, you could get a really iconic and authenticated Banksy painting.
Alan Strickland, a local politician representing the area where the piece was originally located, credits his efforts and the efforts of his community for the piece being withdrawn back in February and hopes to stop the sale of the piece this time as well.
It’s still not clear who owns the wall at the moment, but my money is on the owners of the building where it was painted. Otherwise, would they run to the police and report the wall as stolen property?
Also, isn’t this whole business of naming Banksy’s street pieces a bit funny? These aren’t names that Banksy came up with. They are just names that the media and us fans use to identify the works, but we treat them like official titles.
Photo courtesy of Banksy, aka lifted from his website