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Banksy Has Opened Up a Shop In Croydon

Words:

Edd Norval
October 2, 2019

Popping up overnight, the store Gross Domestic Product by notorious artist Banksy will keep its lights on 24 hours a day, selling 'merchandise', something the artist has previously refused to do. The reason? If he doesn't, a greetings card company will.

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It's all part of a legal dispute, something the artist says is "possibly the least poetic reason to ever make some art”. The law stipulates that unless the artist uses their own copyright in merchandise sales, then it's up for grabs. Naturally, knowing the artist's demand, someone was quick to take advantage of the law.


Selling his images, without the artist's permission, would strike most as a preposterous thing to do, given his notoriety, but without the protection of the law, it's been going on. Banksy has chosen to forego the route of tacky merchandise as a response and, under the guidance of arts lawyer Mark Stephens, is now making his own - albeit with a twist.


It is, of course, not normal stuff to sell. The homewares shop sells a discoball that's actually a police riot helmet. Then there's the type of cushion that would usually tell you to 'Live, Laugh, Love', but instead says, 'Life's too short to take advice from a cushion'. For those looking to the future, he's even got a gravestone in-stock engraved with 'You have now reached your destination.'

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The store, which won't actually open its doors, is selling "impractical and offensive" goods from its online store. It includes a multitude of humorous and political goods, like a handbag made from a brick - hinting that what we carry truly weighs us down, and also the infamous stab-proof vest that artist Stormzy wore at Glastonbury earlier this year.


Its opening precedes an upcoming auction at Sotheby's on thursday, where his Devolved Parliament painting is estimated to sell for up to £2 million. This comes almost one year after a painting he sold there for £1 million shredded the moment it was bought.


Part installation art and part legal case, Gross Domestic Product is another in the line of thought-provoking works created by the anonymous English artist whose impact on art and, in particular street art, has been the greatest and most profound for generations. And just like his other stunts, this one leaves the public curious for what might come next.

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