Banksy Sales Spur Illegal Mural Excavation in New Orleans
After three murals by the British street artist Banksy that were removed from the walls where they were originally painted hit the auction block at Fine Art Auctions Miami on February 18, with one of two police officers kissing fetching $575,000, a group of men in New Orleans have attempted to cash in by illegally removing the artist’s 2008 mural “Girl With Umbrella” from its wall at the corner of North Rampart and Kerlerec streets, the NOLA Defender and New Orleans Advocate report.
On the morning of February 21, four men pulled up with a U-Haul truck, erected plywood around the mural, and began to drill at the wall in an effort to extract the piece. One member of the group, when asked by neighbors what was going on and why no permits had been posted, identified himself as Chris and claimed to be a “private art handler” and said they were removing the piece in order to donate it to Tate Modern. Pressed for more explanations, the men eventually put their equipment in their van and fled the scene, leaving a hole in the wall where the mural still stands—for now.
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