Public street art as private purchase? Banksy's Haight Street rat turns up in Miami
Selling Banksys has become a veritable cottage industry — In Easton, England, a couple attempted to hawk a stencil for hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the house it was painted on thrown in for good measure — complicated by the fact that the artist doesn't sign or authenticate his illegal street art.
Gallery owners should hardly be surprised when attempts to capitalize off of public art are taken to task, particularly works as site-specific and political as the Bethlehem walls. They should stay away language like that which appeared at the "Banksy Out of Context" exhibit in Miami: "The exhibition aims to provide public access to these walls and create a platform where they can be reevaluated as artworks in themselves."
Because an event that costs $20 to enter is hardly more public than the streets of Palestine. And maybe separating the walls from their intended audience allow some people to better evaluate their artistic meaning — but only those who need a hefty pricetag to recognize creativity.