Street art – the practice of creating public murals, often illegally, on the walls of major cities – is one of the most oft-discussed disciplines of contemporary art. Having its origins in the New York subway graffiti movement of the late 70s and early 80s, street art is seen as a departure from the traditional art world of galleries and museums, bringing thought-provoking work to the people anonymously and for free. Among all street artists practicing today, Banksy is one of the most famous and elusive, due not only to the intriguing quality of his work, but also the mysterious nature of his persona. His identity is tightly guarded, though his stenciled spray paint works are easily recognizable. A London resident, Banksy recently made a trip to New York City for what he called the "Better Out Than In residency." Two pieces from that visit, titled "Bandaged Heart" and "Crazy Horse Car Door", will be auctioned in Miami along with a Banksy piece from the UK titled "Kissing Coppers."
The Banksy pieces were created on walls for free and have since been removed and sold to art collectors by the property owners. Street art is, by its very nature, free and accessible, however, due to its popularity, a large community of street art collectors have arisen who pay property owners for the spray-painted stencil works. These bits of wall, or in the case of "Crazy Horse Car Door" an actual car door, can then arrive at auction through these collectors.
The public nature of street art often leads to the defacing of one artist's work by another. For example, "Bandaged Heart" was painted on the side of a Brooklyn building and depicts a heart-shaped balloon covered in self-adhesive bandages. Another street artist, Omar NYC, almost immediately covered the work with his own moniker. Banksy then returned to write "is a jealous little girl" under it. The dialogue between the two artists is expected to only increase the value of the work, which is expected to sell for $400,000 to $600,000.
The other two works are expected to also sell for more than $200,000. The most a Banksy piece has ever sold for at auction was $1.87 million in 2008. Banksy himself held an unannounced sale of his signed work for $60 a piece at a stall in Central Park – he only sold 8 canvasses.
Art collectors can visit iCollector.com to view lots from auctions around the world and place their bids online.