B. Bernsteiner

How (not) to buy a Banksy online

Increasing popularity of street art is changing the art market and its laws. What used to be rather noble and elitist is now tangential to provocation and art from the street, and fetches top prices. A controversy has arisen among artists themselves: whether street art, once created in public space, belongs in private collections. An art form that is ephemeral in its basic nature, because graffiti or street art are usually not designed for eternity, is countering increasing commercialization through wanton devaluation; artists destroy and remove their works as soon as they run the risk of becoming valuable or commercially abused, sometimes as part of the public staging.

The object documented in the book, a rusty wheel clamp, which due to various traces can be attributed to Banksy's environment, exemplifies this controversy. Could an artist want to devalue an original as a forgery, or does an alleged forgery thus become an original?
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