A Banksy work inspired by Jean Michel-Basquiat is heading to auction this month with an estimate between $8 million and $12 million.
The street artist’s 2018 Banksquiat. Bog and Dog in Stop and Search will be sold by Phillips on May 17 in an evening sale. Earlier this week, a series of photos showing the work being carted off in a Phillips-branded truck were posted on an Instagram page belonging to Banksy’s company, Gross Domestic Product.
The piece is a later iteration of Banksy’s 2017 stencil on the wall of the Barbican, a performing arts theatre in London. The stenciled work was inspired by Basquiat’s 1982 Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump painting and was drawn on the Barbican just as the theater was preparing to hold a Basquiat exhibition.
While the original drawing remains on the Barbican’s wall today, the version being sold by Phillips was previously shown at Beyond the Streets, a 2018 exhibition in Los Angeles.
Who is Banksy?
The Bristol artist whose identity has long remained anonymous first rose to prominence in the 1990s for his signature stencilled graffiti art. Often containing anti-authoritarian or political messages, his work has fetched millions in recent years.
In 2018, moments after a bidder purchased Banksy’s Girl with Balloon for $1.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction, the painting slid through its frame, which shredded the drawing’s bottom half. Banksy later revealed he’d installed a remote-controlled mechanism in the frame in case anyone ever tried to purchase it.
Three years later, the partially destroyed work, renamed Love is in the Bin, was resold for $25.4 million, breaking the artist’s auction record.
Banksy’s Game Changer sold for $23.1 million in 2021, with the proceeds benefiting hospitals across England, while his Love is in the Air drawing was purchased for $12.9 million that same year.
Wide-ranging reactions to the artist’s public installations
While London’s Barbican is recognized on the city’s National Heritage List, meaning graffiti offenders typically receive harsh penalties for defacing the building, Banksy’s Basquiat-inspired 2017 stencil was promptly protected with Plexiglas.
A number of other building-owners have gone to great lengths to safeguard the artist’s public installations. In 2007, the owners of a house in Bristol ran into trouble finding someone who wouldn’t remove a Banksy mural to purchase their home, and subsequently sold the mural through a gallery with the entire home attached.
The following year, a trailer adorned with Banksy’s art also went up for sale, later followed by a building located in Los Angeles.
At times, the street artist’s work has been physically removed or chipped away from buildings to sell the wall slabs, as happened with a Banksy work located on a Welsh garage in 2019 and his image of a hula-hooping girl drawn on an English building in 2021.
Not everyone is a fan of the artist’s anti-authoritarian graffiti and methods, and Banksy’s public drawings have frequently been defaced or removed. In 2020, his stencil on a London subway was erased for violating the transportation agency’s anti-graffiti policy. One of Banksy’s most recent works, a stencil of a woman pushing a man into a freezer attached to the wall of a building in Margate, England, has twice had the freezer removed.