Art

10.31.13

Banksy's Charitable Moment

The artist has "vandalized" a landscape—which will be sold to fight homelessness and AIDS.
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John Moore/Getty

UPDATE: The final sale of the painting was $615k.

On Thursday, Banksy’s month-long New York City “residency,” Better Out Than In, came to an end. The whirlwind of a month left fans trying to locate the works and attempting to catch the artist in the act—even the NYPD made it a priority to catch the “vandal.” Through graffiti, mobile installations, performances, and pop-up exhibitions, the still-unidentified Banksy left the Big Apple with one memorable month, over fifteen new pieces of public artwork, and soon, a lot of money to donate to charity.

The painting that appeared in the window of Housing Work Thrift Shop’s 23rd Street location on October 29 is now up for grabs. The two-day pop-up auction, which concludes Thursday evening, has the price for the "vandalized" oil painting at over $310,000.

Banksy purchased the original artwork, a traditional landscape oil-painting, from the Housing Works and added his own mark—a Nazi soldier sitting on a river-side bench, gazing into the distance. The image was re-titled The Banality of the Banality of Evil, signed by Banksy, and donated back to the thrift store. 

The auction has brought in over a hundred bids, which is unsurprising, especially after all but three people missed the chance at owning authentic Banksy works when they were sold for $60 each in Central Park.

"Housing Works cannot express how fortunate we feel to have been a part of the Banksy residency in New York,” the director of public relations Rebecca Edmondson told The Daily Beast. “The generous donation of his artwork will allow us to do so much good for our clients dealing with the dual crisis of homelessness and AIDS that still plagues our city streets. 100 percent of the proceeds will provide much-needed funds for our lifesaving services which include housing, medical care, case management, legal services and counseling."