Missing Banksy artwork to be auctioned in Miami
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The mystery surrounding an art piece from famous British graffiti artist Banksy has London art lovers in an uproar after learning the piece will be auctioned in South Florida this Saturday.
Banksy is famous for tagging buildings with political artwork, and now the destination of his work has left many in his hometown of London upset. According to a councilor from the London burrough of Haringey, the painting, known as "the Bunting Boy," once located on the side of the Poundland building, went missing one day and left many questioning it's location. Fans in London later learned the piece will be auctioned off in Miami.
Haringey councilor Alan Strickland has taken to Twitter calling for those upset by the auction to send emails to the auctioneers, Fine Art Auctions Miami, and demand that they remove the piece from the auction.
Residents in London believe the piece of art is part of the fabric in their country and want to see it returned. However, the work has not been reported stolen, and no laws were broken.
The piece is expected to fetch at least $500,000 at auction. Frederic Thut, an auctioneer at Fine Art Auctions Miami, said they plan to sell "the Bunting Boy" as planned this Saturday and that his company had acquired it legitimately. "Not everything is owned by the public," he said. "Some things are owned by private [owners], and for our research, the wall, it's a private wall, so I think that the right thing is to ask the owner of the building."
A spokesperson from the Poundland business, where the Banksy artwork had been located, released the following statement: "We lease the premises from a landlord, and we were as shocked and surprised as anyone at the removal of the Banksy artwork. We understand the upset this has caused and in no way do we condone the removal of the artwork, without proper consultation with the community," said Poundland Account Manager Kate Reynolds.
Admirers are so outraged over the piece being sold for such a high price, they have begun circulating an on-line petition called "Hands Off Our Banksy" trying to get Fine Art Auctions Miami to take the art piece off the auction block before Saturday.
Auctioneer Frederic Thut will not say how they got the piece. "We have presented in auction, and it has been verified, the authenticity, the provenance and the title of receipt," he said.
The Banksy piece is not hanging on the Miami auction house walls. It remains in storage until the auction on Saturday, but you can get a glimpse of it on the cover of the auction catalog.
Ask Banksy himself what he thinks about auction houses selling street art, in the frequently asked questions section of his web site, the artist invokes Henri Matisse, saying, "I was very embarrassed when my canvases began to fetch high prices, I saw myself condemned to a future of painting nothing but masterpieces."
To see the auction, visit this site: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/15778020_banksy-slave-labor-bunting-boy-london-2012.
Here is a link to the "Hands Off Our Banksy" petition: http://www.haringeylabour.org.uk/2013/02/hands-off-our-banksy/.
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