This Thursday, Banksy’s trenchant painting of chimpanzees running British Parliament will hit the auction block at Sotheby’s in London, where it is expected to fetch as much as $2.5 million. But the anonymous artist isn’t letting the secondary market take his spotlight.
An elaborate Banksy installation satirizing auctions popped up in South London last night, taking over several derelict storefronts below a gym in the town of Croydon. There, the artist installed a series of tableaux, including a baby’s crib resting below a mobile made of security cameras and a parlor room with a rug made from the pelt of Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger.
In another window hangs the stab-proof, Union Jack vest the artist made for rapper Stormzy earlier this year. It’s accompanied by a text written in the style of an auction lot blurb: “A version of the ‘John Bull’ English gents waistcoat updated for modern times. This customized body armor is capable of stopping bullets up to .45 caliber and is fully stab proof. As worn by Stormzy at Glastonbury festival (because it’s very dangerous there). Yet not machine washable. Signed. Edition of 5 plus 2 A/P.” (Stormzy, who was born in Croydon, became the first black solo artist to headline the Glastonbury festival in June.)“This showroom is for display purposes only,” Banksy added in an Instagram post, explaining that the installation is an advertisement for an online store he’s launching, called—of course—Gross Domestic Product.
The store, which will sell branded home goods, is a response to a greeting card company attempting to obtain legal rights to the name “Banksy” for its products, the artist wrote in a flyer near the storefront. The best way to prevent this, he explains, is to sell his own trademarked merchandise.
The goods will begin at £10 and are, according to a description, handmade using “existing or recycled materials wherever possible. Including the ideas.” The site’s landing page features what looks like a flooded shopping mall, with text that reads, “Opening soon.” Banksy’s Devolved Parliament painting will highlight Sotheby’s evening auction of contemporary art this Thursday, October 3.