‘Stealing Banksy?’ exhibition and auction

'Stealing Banksy?' exhibition and auction

'Stealing Banksy?' exhibition and auction

Stealing Banksy? is an upcoming exhibition of restored, never-before-seen, street art from renowned graffiti artist Banksy. It will take place at the ME London hotel on the Strand from April 24-27th.

Having been carefully sourced from around the world, nearly 20 artworks will be on display, culminating in a live public auction where one of the works, No Ball Games, is expected to sell for £1 million.

The exhibition at the Foster and Parters’ designed hotel, featuring over £5 million worth of the most controversial pieces, follows a press conference to be given by masked men and women – in keeping with the anonymity of Banksy himself.

The event is being organised by the Sincura Group, a multi-award winning concierge company, and is their headline event of 2014. They say the “project aims to explore the social, legal and moral issues surrounding the sale of street art.”

The auctioning off of Banky’s work previously has been the subject of much criticism and this time around is no different. Critics say the work is being stolen from the public vicinity in which it was bestowed, that it is priceless, that artwork by nature can never be replicated and that the removal of the art pieces is not only damaging, but takes away the magic and essence of Banksy’s designs.

Slave Labour, from Wood Green in London, was sold last year via a Sincura auction for over £750,000. Kissing Coppers recently sold at a Miami auction for £345,000.

In defense of their actions SIncura say they are rescuing Banksy’s work, much of it nearly 10 years old and insist that without restorative intervention the pieces would be lost forever: “Though we have been accused of many things during this project, we do not steal art nor do we condone any acts of wanted vandalism or theft. We do not own the pieces of art, nor encourage their removal and to date have made no financial gain from the sales of street art. If assigned to manage a piece of art we ensure the salvage, restoration and sale is carried out in a professional and sympathetic manner.”

They have also refuted any criminal wrongdoing: “It should be noted that both Scotland Yard and the FBI have issued statements that there is no evidence of criminality involved in the removal or sales of our pieces.’

Charities will benefit from the auction on Sunday 27th, including The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, Youth for Change, Sport for Good.

The funds raised by the Liverpool Rat have been promised to the Rowan Park school for children with severe learning difficulties at Litherland, Merseyside.

The auction is open to the public, who can register to bid from April 17th, but only six pieces will be sold through public auction, with the rest to be sold via sealed bids or at fixed prices on the day.


Text: Clarissa Waldron