Often referred to as one of the most controversial street artists in the world, Banksy is now on every avid contemporary art collector’s radar. Achieving astronomical results at auction over the last five years especially, Banksy has re-branded the graffiti movement, paving the way for street artists to come.
Banksy’s identity remains unknown, even after more than 30 years of involvement in the global graffiti scene. He has produced art through many different mediums and styles, often combining objects that already exist on his chosen canvas, such as street signs and bins, turning his work into street art installations. His works include powerful and controversial topics that encourage the spread of his name across the world. Banksy is constantly breaking down the boundaries and expectations of art critics.
Following the success of Police Kids (Jack and Jill) in our July Prints and Multiples auction, achieving a strong result of $112,500 (IBP), Leonard Joel is please to present Get Out While You Can (Red) within our November auction. This work is from Banksy’s Placard Rat series, a trilogy of screen-prints released in 2004.
Several variations of the Placard Rat were painted by Banksy on the streets of London during 2000 – 2005, leading to the rodent becoming a signature motif or even alter ego for the artist. Get Out While You Can (Red) is highly collected. Its comparatively low edition size contributes to the works desirability, there were only 75 signed prints and 175 unsigned prints made. The rat, standing on his hind legs, is holding up a placard with the words ‘Get Out While You Can’ in bright red handwriting, providing the only detail of colour in the work. In this piece, Banksy is speaking for those oppressed and defeated by the endless competition and consumerism of the late capitalism.
When he visited Melbourne in 2003, Banksy left his stamp on the city with three Parachuting Rat stencils among other works. In 2010, one was destroyed by council contractors, which led to local and international coverage and the debate on the nature of street art and preservation. The rat has become one of Banksy’s most recognisable characters and has been interpreted as a symbol for the idea that while efforts are constantly made to remove graffiti from walls, it continues to reappear – just like rats.
HANNAH RYAN / Art Specialist
Banner Image: BANKSY (British, born 1974) Get Out While You Can (Red) 2004 | $50,000-60,000