Gallery’s Exhibition of Banksy Street Art Removed From Walls: ‘Cultural Looting’ or Valuable Commodities Ripe for the Picking?

Over the years, we’ve seen a number of instances where people have cried foul over the removal of a piece of Banksy street art, particularly when it involves the remover’s getting rewarded with a large batch of cash. After all, as we wrote back in 2008, “Banksy Makes Walls Worth Millions.” We last saw an instance of what the site VIT.B has quoted some as calling “cultural looting” back in August of last year, when a couple of Banksies were removed from walls in an abandoned building in Detroit and showed up on eBay, starting at $75,000/per. Now the Keszler Gallery in Southampton, New York is getting the same treatment with their exhibition “Banksy: Original Street Works.” Reportedly unauthorized by the artist, actual chunks of the walls holding the paintings were removed and have been put on display and made available for sale. Given Banksy’s very public canvases, which if not removed and sold to galleries are semi-regularly accidentally painted over by graffiti-removal crews or unknowing new building owners, it seems par for the course and not something that should be of any particular surprise. So depending on how you view this latest matter, viewing the gallery-produced video below will either make you terribly mad, or you’ll be interested to see how a Banksy removal is handled: