SUPERTOUCH: As we reported earlier this week, British street artist BANKSY has been on a southern road trip of late, starting in a pre-Gustav New Orleans before moving on to ALABAMA where he paid homage to the great white powers-that-be with his stenciled image of a hung KKK member on an abandoned gas station. Taking matters into their own hands yesterday, irate locals broke out their own spray cans to let the world know what they think of a snotty English street artist pointin’ fingers at their good ole boys. Too bad they didn’t realize that simply cutting out the stencil & selling it on eBay would have been the sweetest revenge. MORE
NEW YORK TIMES: Five works by the elusive graffiti artist Banksy and other pieces by street artists failed to sell at an auction in London over the weekend, Bloomberg News reported. Only 74 of the 270 lots at Lyon & Turnbull’s sale found buyers. The poor sales resulted in part from Banksy’s refusal earlier in the week to authenticate five stencil and spray-paint works on the block. (Above, Elena Ratcheva of Lyon & Turnbull with one of the works.) Pest Control, a group set up this year to authenticate Banksy’s work, would not verify any of the street pieces because they were removed from their original settings. “Pest Control does not authenticate street pieces because Banksy prefers street work to remain in situ, and building owners tend to become irate when their doors go missing because of a stencil,” the group told BBC News. Ben Hanly, a contemporary art specialist at Lyon & Turnbull, said the works were genuine. MORE
DAILY MAIL: He is perhaps the most famous, or infamous, artist alive. To some a genius, to others a vandal. Always controversial, he inspires admiration and provokes outrage in equal measure. Since Banksy made his name with his trademark stencil-style ‘guerrilla’ art in public spaces – on walls in London, Brighton, Bristol and even on the West Bank barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians – his works have sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds. He has dozens of celebrity collectors including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Christina Aguilera.
He is also known for his headline-making stunts, such as leaving an inflatable doll dressed as a Guantanamo prisoner in Disneyland, California, and hanging a version of the Mona Lisa – but with a smiley face – in the Louvre, Paris. But perhaps his most provocative statement, and the one that generates the most publicity, is the fact that Banksy’s true identity has always been a jealously guarded secret, known to only a handful of trusted friends. A network of myths has grown up around him. That his real name is Robin Banks. That he used to be a butcher. That his parents don’t know what he does, believing him to be an unusually successful painter and decorator. Then there’s the suggestion that Banksy is actually a collective of artists and doesn’t exist at all. Such is the curiosity about Banksy that when the great man threw a pizza box into a bin in Los Angeles, the box resurfaced on auction site eBay, with the seller suggesting that the few anchovies left inside might yield traces of his DNA. He is the Scarlet Pimpernel of modern art, so adept at leaving false trails that even his own agent has claimed that he is not certain of his identity. Indeed, trying to establish just who the elusive Banksy is has proved as difficult as predicting the location of his next work.
But now, after an exhaustive year-long investigation in which we have spoken to dozens of friends, former colleagues, enemies, flatmates and members of Banksy’s close family, The Mail on Sunday has come as close as anyone possibly can to revealing his identity. MORE
LUXIST: The pop artist Christina Aguilera has just dropped £25,000 – that’s about $43,500 – on a painting by the British graffiti artist Banksy. The painting shows the late Queen Victoria, who passed anti-homosexual laws and “famously believed women were incapable of being gay”, depicted as a lesbian. Victoria, clad in stockings and garter belt, is painted in a compromising position with another woman. Aguilera plans to display the controversial painting in her home. MORE