Can Banksy’s Market Go Global? With a Dedicated Selling Show in Hong Kong, Phillips Is Betting on It

Yes, a version of that famously shredded work will be included (just without the shredding).

Banksy, Girl With Balloon (2006). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Banksy mania is on its way to Hong Kong, where Phillips will stage a selling exhibition of works by the anonymous British street artist in its recently expanded galleries. Running from November 17 through December 7, the show coincides with the house’s upcoming Hong Kong evening sale there on November 25.

The effort is a logical step in galleries’ and auction houses’ ongoing efforts to develop and capitalize on the rapidly expanding market for Western art in Asia. While much of the attention has been focused on high-priced modern and contemporary work—from Willem de Kooning to George Condo to Christopher Wool—Banksy offers a different kind of recognizable, brand-name appeal (despite, of course, his outwardly anti-capitalist attitude).

According to Phillips, the show is due to include 27 works, including several significant and previously unseen pieces ranging from prints to unique artworks at a variety of price points. 

Highlights include Banksy’s Laugh Now (2002), an enormous six-meter-long canvas featuring 10 of the artist’s stencil monkeys carrying a sign reading, “laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge.” Other works in the show include a print of the artist’s Girl with Balloon (2004)—yes, a version of that one that Bansky shredded immediately after it sold—as well as Avon and Somerset Contabulary (Pink) (2018), Love Rat on Pallett (2004), and Bacchus at the Seaside (2009).

Banksy’s auction record currently stands at $1.9 million, set in 2008 for the spray paint-on-canvas work Keep It Spotless (2007). The famously shredded 2006 work, Girl With Balloon (later renamed Love Is in the Bin) sold for $1.4 million last month.

“While remaining anonymous, Banksy has managed to become one of the world’s most recognized artists. He’s built a celebrated body of work using satire, dark humor and irony, and I believe those attributes make his art universally appealing,” Phillips’s deputy chairman and head of private sales Miety Heiden told artnet News in an email. “As a result, his appeal is growing around the world, and that certainly includes Asia, which is why we created this exhibition in Hong Kong.”

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