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Banksy Reacts to Sotheby's Record Auction Haul


What interests me most about the artwork of Banksy is the current frenzy surrounding it. I've been slagged off quite a bit in the comments recently for continuing to document the phenomenon. It's not the actual art that appeals to me so much but the way in which it comments on pop culture and the art world and the way that culture continues to feed it.

Like Warhol, Banksy tends to throw a lot of fuel on the "what is art?" debate.

On that note, Banksy has responded in a very Banksian fashion (see illustration above) on his website to the sale of several of his works at Sotheby's.

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  1. I know. Some of the people who commented on Banksy and your posts were kind of harsh. I happen to agree with you. I like the way he responds to things going around him, his irreverence and his sense of humor. That it all comes wrapped up in a creative package is just the icing on the cake. His Kissing Coopers is my wallpaper right now.

    Posted by: Xavier | Feb 9, 2007 3:55:57 PM

  2. Love him and his whole commentary on the art world. Tees

    Posted by: jack mack | Feb 9, 2007 4:00:53 PM

  3. Nothing like contempt for your customers. Maybe he could donate the dough to something that matters, since he seems to place such a low value on his work. Just a thought.

    Posted by: hill_w | Feb 9, 2007 4:13:19 PM

  4. Banksy is very creative, very smart and very talented. The piece above fits perfectly within his ethos.

    Posted by: david s | Feb 9, 2007 4:38:40 PM

  5. I actually kind of like Banksy every now and then, but the art world going ga-ga over him and paying thousands for his pranskter art is a bit farcical to say the least. What is art? Whatever name the corporate bank rollers are putting in their lobbies at the moment.

    Posted by: GBM | Feb 9, 2007 4:49:12 PM

  6. Under EU intellectual property-rights law, doesn't the artist get a percentage of the proceeds of ANY sale or re-sale of his work during the copyright-period...unlike in the United States??

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Feb 9, 2007 4:50:28 PM

  7. i agree with you andy....don't recall particular comments -- some poignant, others humorous in how i find warhol amusing -- in milking a moment in time yet nothing particularly eternal in many ways, such as surface skimming snarky bitch -- whereas commentary by this artist has amused me in the relatively short time that it has come to surface in various locations and differing platforms. a disneyfied guantanamo bay orange suit could by gay day at orlando (much as in historical hollywood or washington isolation ethos -- oh, but we love your designs!!) in some cases of oversight in relation to rights, however, there are some creations that one wonders about a progression of an artist(s) or stagnation due to a stasis in reproducing ad infinitum -- silk screened tin cans on whatever medium of innocuous irrelevant products -- oh, no, but's it's warhol. much as other work of andy w. was much more important than the hyper-saturated images that have come to represent his entire catalogue, yet, moreso crap in relation to a larger picture.

    stay warm -- have a great weekend!!

    Posted by: ricardo | Feb 9, 2007 4:53:58 PM

  8. I have to admit I was beginning to wonder if you had recently uncovered a trove of lost Banksy canvases in your grandmothers attic (or alley - artists origins considered).

    Posted by: Giovanni | Feb 9, 2007 6:33:34 PM

  9. I was one of those negative posters from the other day, and I have to return to ask: whose 'debating' this artist's work? Yes there are articles out there on this artist, as there are for thousands upon thousands of other artists out there making art. Yes his work gets sold at auction, as does thousands of other artists. So he is apparently making some gags about the art world, nothing radical about that, I can't think of any other subject matter that could be more played out. There doesn't need to be more 'commentary on the art world', there is plenty of that already, and it's totally contrived and boring.

    There is no Banksy sensation, and these posts are deceptive because they suggest there is a controversey and excitement around this guy, but in truth there is no controversey, no debate, and like I said last time: NOBODY CARES.

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 9, 2007 7:32:25 PM

  10. And Mike's comment just goes to show you that somebody cares quite a bit.

    Posted by: hopper | Feb 9, 2007 7:39:32 PM

  11. I care about the posts not the art.

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 9, 2007 7:48:58 PM

  12. "Like Warhol, Banksy tends to throw a lot of fuel on the "what is art?" debate."

    This "debate" you mention occurs in art history classes in college with 18-year-olds who know nothing about art. I can assure you that those in the art world do not have these "what is art" conversations you imagine. These discussions are for those who have no understanding of contemporary art.

    that said, banksy is a nobody. there is no art publication paying any attention to him. PLEASE STOP WITH THE BANKSY.

    Posted by: kirby | Feb 9, 2007 11:59:31 PM

  13. Like I said about you guy's comments in the previous Banksy're idiots.

    Quite simply, you have no clue what you're talking about, to any degree. He began as a subversive graffiti/street artist, and still is. So, no, he's not gonna be discussed at the latest art gallery opening over some chiraz. If you haven't seen the majority of his street stencils, drawings, graffiti pieces and paintings, or read/seen details concerning his various subversive and status-quo-questioning stunts/activities around the world, YOU REALLY HAVE NO AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER TO COMMENT ON HIM.

    Just because Artforum isn't wanking themselves over him, doesnt mean he isnt important or relevant (or in my opinion, the most important artist working right now). Or maybe you need magazines and other media to tell you whats interesting and compelling and should be appreciated?

    Actually -- haha, wow, what am I thinking. You're a gay male. Of course you do.

    Posted by: Rick | Feb 10, 2007 1:11:53 AM

  14. Art people are very picky, none of us rely on those magazines to decide what is and isn't good. Most people hate those magazines.

    I looked up this artist after this post, and it looks like this "phenomenon" is relegated to Britain which may explain why nobody has ever heard of him. It also looks like he might be along the lines of Shepherd Fairy or something like that. Also I'm not sure graffiti, pranks and insulting the art establishment is subversive.

    And if it is subversive I don't think that necessarily makes it good. And I don't think that because people are paying a lot for it makes it good either. In the posts about this artist the blogger kept mentioning prices.

    Posted by: PAUL | Feb 10, 2007 1:39:23 AM

  15. Rick, I like how in both threads you claim refinement & intelligence yet you manage to obliterate your message with insults towards the entire gay male population. Not so subtle, are we?

    ps It's the same thing I've noted in a many threads: folks standing a pedestal about some issue while accusing other "sad bitter queens" of not getting it. no contradictions whatesoever..

    << To the left, to the left self-haters!

    Posted by: Da | Feb 10, 2007 3:02:53 AM

  16. Andy the point of a blog is for you to post about what interests you not others.

    Banksy though is an example of hype winning over quality.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 10, 2007 9:14:26 AM

  17. Good point Da. The argument over Banksy is like arguing over film. Art is so subjective that there is virtually no standard by which it can be judged unless you buy into the classical model or you believe the hype of current pop culture.

    Otherwise it's just dudes scribbling stuff on canvas or sabataging corporate products.

    Personally I find the work of the anti-cigarette "Truth" ads to be far more creative and subversive than Banksy.

    Making fun of modern art is NOT edgy. It's easy.

    Posted by: mark m | Feb 10, 2007 9:39:43 AM

  18. Andy I agree with Bill, your blog is about what strikes your intrest, like your admiration of Jakey boy. If others don't like it or get it, they should scroll down or start their own blogs.

    When I first saw your posts about Bansky what came to mind was another street artist here in NYC in the early '80's, whose work was being torn off subways and boards on construction sites that he used as his canvas. Keith Haring did not reach the early success that Bansky is getting until Madonna took him under her wing. Sadly he died from AIDS before he could see his full potential or reach any real finacial success.

    As for Kirby and others who say:

    "This "debate" you mention occurs in art history classes in college with 18-year-olds who know nothing about art. I can assure you that those in the art world do not have these "what is art" conversations you imagine. These discussions are for those who have no understanding of contemporary art.

    that said, banksy is a nobody. there is no art publication paying any attention to him. PLEASE STOP WITH THE BANKSY."

    I agree with MARK M, as I usually do, that art is subjective. I did not get Picaso or his work until I went to his museum in Barcelona and saw how his work evolved into what was his most recognized art. I felt the same about Warhol until I saw the documumentary last year on his life and work. While I am not a lover of either of their work, I have a better understanding of it.

    One last thing, in the Warhol doc they go over how he was dismissed by the same type in the 'art world' that both RICK and KIRBY go on about.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Feb 10, 2007 10:12:23 AM

  19. That folks like Kirby spend considerable energy getting worked into a froth about the money and attention Banksy is getting must mean SOMETHING. Is his work art? Why bother asking? The work is genuinely Banksy.

    Now we await the Banksy school of imitators and the Banksy spoofs.

    Posted by: alan | Feb 10, 2007 12:29:57 PM

  20. "The Banksy School"? "The Banksy Spoofs"?

    I believe that people have the right to think that some things are interesting, I don't think any of the posters have suggested that you can't like this artist, but the rest of us have right to diagree with you and your delusional if you think that 'Banksy'(Which is such a stupid name) is some important art historical figure. Anyone who follows art closely has been down this road hundreds of times before, and can see that this is a dumbed down version of old tropes. People who don't follow art don't give a shit about critiques of the art world. Which leaves that upper-middlebrow group of people who apparently find this sort of trite, one-dimensional stuff interesting. IT'S BAD...why can't you see that? Honestly, I'm not trying to be a jerk, and I'm not trying to cause more angry posts, but I feel sorry for you.

    Posted by: ERLAND | Feb 10, 2007 1:20:39 PM

  21. It could be that Banksy is just, something to get excited about, to make you seem high brow when you talk to your friends. Or just filler. LOL

    God knows the media does that plenty, with the skinny models stories and now Anna Nicole (no disrespect to either issues; anorexia, drug use and self esteem in the former and, anorexia, drug use and self esteems issues in the other latter).

    Whenever I want to sounds like I spend all my time visiting the art galleries that are two blocks from my apt. versus the White Catsle thats about ten, I just tell my friends I love Bansky too!

    Posted by: zee | Feb 10, 2007 1:43:30 PM

  22. You are so missing the point. Even is it is art, WHO CARES! Its just ARt, anything is Art. Love your friends and your family, worry about things that are important, stop arguing over bullshit.

    Posted by: davide | Feb 10, 2007 8:00:48 PM

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