Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Banksy and Pest Control

Lyon & Tunbull, Contemporary art sale London

The question of authenticity remains high on the agenda in the Banksy market after a last minute intervention by the self-styled guerrilla artist had a devastating effect on Lyon & Turnbull's latest attempt to break into the London contemporary art market. in a statement released by his publicist the day before L&T's sale of modern and contemporary art and design in Marleybone on September 27th, Banksy refused to authenticate five street works at the sale estimated at over £200,000. These works had been removed form their original settings and had been approved by Vermin, the recently established authentication service made up of a 'board of experts' set up as an alternative to the Banksy approved verification panel, Pest Control.

Banksy's statement read "For the sake of keeping all street art where it belongs, I'd encourage people not to buy anything by anybody unless it was created for sale in the first place."

A further statement posted on the Pest Control website stated: "All works authenticated by Pest Control have been done so in conjunction with the artist. Banksy does not provide this service through any other third parties and we would caution collectors against relying on such bodies."

The reasons behind Banksy's protective stance are thought to be threefold. Firstly, public acknowledgement of original street works may open the artist up to potential prosecution for vandalism. Then there is the issue of fakes, Pest Control say that they have identified 89 street pieces and 137 screen prints falsely attributed to the artist so far this year. Thirdly, Pest Control, which is also closely associated with Banksy's primary dealer lazarides, wish to maintain their position as the sole authentication body and thereby control the supply of approved works on the market.

Banksy and Pest Control

Lyon & Turnbull

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