Is Banksy’s Anti-Commercialism Commercial?

A guerrilla artist qualified for the art A-League

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Show Me The Monet, 2005 | Courtesy of Sotheby’s
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Devolved Parliament, 2009 | Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Is the art market delegitimising Banksy’s work?

Avid collectors seem to be adamant about getting their hands on the mysterious artist’s gems. Regardless, we are not sure if hanging above some hedgefund manager's fireplace is the purpose for which those pieces were conceived. But, above all, we can’t help but wonder:

Why did Banksy transition from the physiologically temporary graffiti to commodifiable art forms like paintings?

Bansky’s work may be delegitimised by an insatiable art market, but he doesn’t abstain from deliberately exploiting the commercial potential of his brand.

Prankster or Philanthropist

Last summer the British artist sponsored a 31-meter lifeboat to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. What undoubtedly is a good deed could potentially resemble a social responsibility PR stunt — assuming we woke up distrustful.

Artist or Marketing Genius

If we were for a moment to abandon the idea of the performance art above, we would be left with the visual part only. I see art as intimately intertwined with creation, being a means to the end of ultimately communicating something. What Banksy delivers is a great deal of communication, but never really shaped a language of his own. The stencil graffiti style he adopts is rather borrowed from the French Blek le Rat in the 1980s.

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IKEA’s Salvator Mundi, 2017 | Courtesy of Artemagazine

Providing unsolicited, mostly unqualified perspectives on Art for laymen. Blatantly entitled.

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