Banksy’s take on the refugee crisis went for 2,235,000 GBP including buyer’s premium at Sotheby’s “Rembrandt to Richter” auction, which was more than double the initial estimate. The selling party was ABCD Bethlehem – a Palestinian charity, after receiving the piece as a donation from Banksy. The information sheet for the lot continues: “All proceeds will go towards building a new acute stroke unit and purchasing children’s rehabilitation equipment for BASR hospital in Bethlehem.”
The triptych has been on display at Walled Off Hotel since the opening in March 2017. Due to the corona situation, the hotel remains closed until further notice. The question is whether the hotel will open again or if the sale marks the beginning of the end for the iconic hotel. Hopefully not. See previous post: The Walled Off Hotel. Palestine, March 2017.
“What should we do with the empty plinth in the middle of Bristol? Here’s an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don’t. We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life size bronze statues of protestors in the act of pulling him down. Everyone happy. A famous day commemorated.”
As reported by The Guardian a few hours after the piece appeared at the Southampton General Hospital in the southern UK:
“Banksy left a note for hospital workers, saying: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
After lockdown measures are lifted, the piece – which is approximately one metre square – will be put on public display. It will then be auctioned to raise money for NHS charities, a spokeswoman for Banksy confirmed.
Paula Head, the chief executive of University Hospital Southampton NHS foundation trust, said: “Here at Southampton, our hospital family has been directly impacted with the tragic loss of much loved and respected members of staff and friends. The fact that Banksy has chosen us to recognise the outstanding contribution everyone in and with the NHS is making, in unprecedented times, is a huge honour.”
“It will be really valued by everyone in the hospital as people get a moment in their busy lives to pause, reflect and appreciate this piece of art. It will no doubt also be a massive boost to morale for everyone who works and is cared for at our hospital.”
Banksy’s handling service Pest Control Office has created one of the most efficient certification systems in the art world. For some time, they have also been active in the second-hand market as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of Banksy’s certified prints and unique studio work. (This has nothing to do with street-art pieces.)
Now it seems like they are taking it to a whole new level with the announced launch of http://www.Bbay.shop. It is an interesting development for the booming secondary market in Banksy artwork, and will hopefully set a new standard for transparency in the art market.
After a 13-minute bidding duel for “Devolved Parliament” at Sotheby’s Evening Sale, a new auction record was set for Banksy with an £8.5 million hammer price. Including the buyer’s premium, the buyer has to cough up with £9.9 million. Banksy did comment the sale a few hours later on his Instagram account:
Banksy’s take on Brexit is well known as we have seen in three pieces during the last two years. The first being the big mural in Dover, unveiled on 7 May 2017. The second piece was the contribution to last year’s summer exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts with the “Vote to Love”. And this year, Banksy is back at the RAA summer exhibition with an “Archway salvaged from Heathrow Airport”.