Banksy’s high-profile, half-shredded, $1.4 million work has found a permanent home at a prestigious German art gallery. The now infamous artwork will be displayed in the Stuttgart Staatsgalerie from March 7, but visitors will have to hunt for the street artist’s work among the gallery’s Old Masters and Modern masterworks.
The owner of the work, which Banksy renamed Love is in the Bin following his viral auction stunt, agreed to permanently loan the work to the gallery after it has a brief stint at the Museum Frieder Burda in the spa town of Baden-Baden, also in Germany.
In its new home, the anarchic work will migrate around the galleries, so visitors wanting to see it will have to seek it out. According to the museum, this is a way to engage with Banksy’s art, which is located in the context of “the hidden.” His work typically appears unexpectedly. He has long tried to conceal his identity, too, although Robin Gunningham has long been in the frame. “Even the identity of his collectors worldwide remains mysterious,” reads a museum statement.
The work famously self-destructed at a Sotheby’s auction in London last October, just after it hammered at over $1 million. The unnamed female European collector with the winning bid decided to keep this piece of art history.
“We appreciate the noble gesture of the collector to give the work to a public collection,” the Stuttgart museum director, Christiane Lange, said in a statement. “We feel it is our duty to discuss current issues in the context of museum presentations, as in the current exhibition on Marcel Duchamp.”
Before it appears in Stuttgart, Banksy’s work is due to go on show at another German museum. While at Baden-Baden’s Frieder Burda Museum from February 5 through March 3, it will be the subject of a talk titled “Can the strategies of the art market be torpedoed while adding to fuel to its fire?”
The Stuttgart museum aims to continue the theme of critical discourse, looking at how Banksy’s work holds up in the broader context of art history. The Banksy effect on the visitor numbers—and the gift shop—will also be welcome. The Staatsgalerie’s director made a point of mentioning that it offers free admission on Wednesdays.
The existing collection comprises works spanning the 14th century to the present day. As it moves around the galleries, the museum says that the Banksy “will have to assert itself as a permanent loan against key works of art history from Rembrandt to Duchamp and from Holbein to Picasso,” ultimately posing the question: Can Banksy officially be canonized in a museum?
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