Ron English Buys Banksy Slave Labour at Auction in Beverly Hills
American artist Run English recently inserted himself into the drama surrounding recent sales of Banksy artworks. When the artist arrived at the Beverley Hills auction in November, no-one expected Ron to throw down seven hundred and thirty large for the Slave Labour wall.
A piece it should be noted was originally stolen from the side of a Poundland store in sunny Wood Green, North London. Banksy produced the piece as an act of protest against the mass manufacture of commercial products in sweatshops destined for major retail outlets stocking up for the Olympic Games 2012. Less than a year later the section of wall featuring the Banksy piece was completely removed from its location and soon found its way to an auction house in the states.
Local residents were outraged, phone calls were made, steering communities formed and PR machines deployed. The stolen wall made headlines across the world, news outlets ensured TV networks covered the Banksy theft.
The artist was allegedly quoted as saying;
‘for the sake of keeping all street art where it belongs l’d encourage people not to buy anything from anybody unless it was created for sale in the first place’
The American auction house promptly cancelled the much published show, sending the piece back to the UK, where it later reportedly sold for $1.2 million in Covent Garden before being sent back to the states where it was sold once again.
Ron English splashed out the cash in protest of the monetisation of street art, promising to immediately whitewash the mural out of respect for Banksy. If you’d never heard of Ron English, global headlines certainly put him front and centre of the theatrics surrounding the Bristol born artist’s artwork. We interviewed the American artist many years ago, we’re big fans of his artwork and energy. We’re quite sure he wasn’t ready for the tidal wave of media exposure an act of purchasing and destroying an original Banksy would cause.
If Ron wants to destroy the mural, an events company want to sell tickets to the general public, a TV broadcaster wants to stream the event on PPV, art galleries want to sell limited edition prints of the freshly whitewashed piece and every media outlet wants to cover all angles of the process.
The Slave Labour story continues with Ron English who will find a creative way of adding another layer of history to this piece, promising to give all proceedings to worthy causes.