As one of the most mysterious and beloved artists in the world, anything Banksy does attracts a great deal of attention from fans, the general public and continually mystified members of the press, who can’t understand why the anonymous graffiti artist causes such a hubbub. As such, Banksy’s work tends to sell for large amounts at auctions, and it’s also frequently stolen by admirers or would-be profiteers. Most recently, new reports have emerged that graffiti Banksy debuted last October of a hula-hooping girl has been removed from the side of a building in Nottingham, England and sold for a “six-figure sum” to the gallerist John Brandler.
According to the BBC, the art of the hula-hooping girl was removed by a specialized company that has removed Banksy art from walls before; the company was hired by Brandler to complete the job, and the artwork is being shipped to Scotland in order for it to be restored. According to Brandler, a plastic covering had been placed over the artwork by Nottingham City Council, an act that could have been ultimately damaging to the piece. “If you put Perspex over a picture the moisture gets into the brick wall and can’t escape – the wall needs to breathe,” Brandler told the BBC. “If I hadn’t bought it and removed it, in two years’ time there wouldn’t have been a Banksy there at all.”
While this is an admirably confident statement coming from someone who’d just taken a piece of public art for himself, this episode is certainly not the first instance wherein a public work of Banksy art has been snatched from its location. Back in September of 2019, a Bansky stencil drawing of a rat on display near Centre Pompidou in Paris disappeared after two men used a saw to cut the piece of art away from a sign for the museum’s parking lot.