'The nothings that threaten everything': how Banksy, Kaws and other street artists are shaking up the art world
Art Business

‘The nothings that threaten everything’: how Banksy, Kaws and other street artists are shaking up the art world

Contemporary art rehang: five Liberty screenprints by street artist Stik recently sold for £200,000 Courtesy of Christie’s It is not often that a work of art sells at auction for a price that creates a sense of wider significance—and outrage. But two days after Sotheby’s sold Banksy’s Devolved Parliament for £9.9m (including fees) on 3 October, the renowned curator Francesco Bonami, a consultant to the Phillips auction house, lambasted the artist in an article in the Italian newspaper la Repubblica . “The €11.1m spent on the canvas of the mysterious king of graffiti marks the birth of a collection inspired more by social networks than by art history,” Bonami lamented. “If Faust sold his soul in exchange for wisdom, the art world, more prosaically, sold both its soul and its wisdom for profit.” The article concludes by dubbing Banksy and KAWS , aka Brian Donnelly (whose cartoon-inspired paintings and sculptures have also achieved formidable auction prices recently), “the nothings that threaten everything”. But what, exactly, is the “everything” threatened by Banksy and KAWS ? In terms of the market, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips can do with all the “nothings” they can get. This year’s otherwise lacklustre Frieze Week evening […]

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