Banksy Wall Gets $400,000 Bid, Remains Terrible

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Banksy in LondonIn the latest twist in the career of British “art prankster” Banksy, a wall on which he painted another one of his one-note eye-rollers has brought £208,100 at auction, or around $400,000. The wall, on the side of a building on Portobello Road in London, will have to be removed to be enjoyed at home by the buyer, and the cost of removal is not included in the price. The artwork depicts a stereotypical artist, with bow-tie and paint palette, putting the finishing touches with a brush on a sloppy “Banksy” tag that has clearly been spray-painted. Har, har: it sure pokes fun at all those people who take art seriously!

Banksy in the Left BankThe artist’s recent work on Israel’s West Bank barrier raised eyebrows and caused controversy, but lost in the debate was the plain fact that it features the same old Highlights magazine-level groan-worthy clichés. Most are trompe l’oeil “breaks” or “windows” in the wall, and boy, everybody loves trompe l’oeil: it’s like a magical illusion! Plus, um, it really brings to the foreground the true “wallness” of the wall itself. Ugh. The auction of the London painting shows that the Banksy phenomenon is just even more of an example of the emptiness of celebrity culture than it supposedly parodies, and considering there are about 100 stunning examples of mind-bendingly great graffiti within a block of my house, shockingly-colored phrases twisted into illegible psychedelic shapes, nearly vibrating with life, it seems like any one of these anonymous artists would be more deserving of some of that $400,000. But clearly I’m not the target audience.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate