Monday, March 11, 2013
$50,000 Billboard Supposedly Stolen
M&F just got sent a press release saying that a $50,000 billboard got taken down and stolen from the Sunset Strip.
The story is that a billboard went up on Sunset advertising the Samuel Bayer art show at the Ace Gallery. M&F was told that after it had gone up on Sunset, that low brow artist Phil Frost came and 'bombed' the billboard by painting over two of the faces and adding his signature on the left hand side below the gallery information. The reason that M&F got sent the press release is because after the billboard got painted by Phil Frost, the press release claims that somebody else came and stole the billboard. The press release also attaches an estimated price tag of $50,000 for the missing billboard, and offers a reward for any information on the stolen billboard.
The story sounds juicy, but there are a lot of inconsistencies. M&F responded back with some questions about the piece, and we have been told that the police report is 100% authentic. That said, some of the details in the press release make us skeptical that the billboard was bombed or stolen, and in our professional street opinion, it seems that this situation was contrived for media purposes.
First of all, it was sent as a press release. For an art show that is currently running, which might cause some people to raise some eyebrows. But this is not the biggest red flag with the situation.
After following street art and graffiti for so long on the streets, one begins to grow an appreciation not just for how street art looks, but how it is done. And the artwork on the billboard itself is suspect as an illicit street bombing. When true bombers hit a billboard, they are usually limited to the area that they can reach while standing at the base of the billboard, such as this one here. Billboards are HUGE, and just looking at this one that was supposedly painted while riding on Sunset by Phil Frost, the paint is all over the billboard, not just along the bottom. To reach the high up and middle spots of the billboard, Phil Frost would have had to been using ropes and or ladders to paint what was there. But looking at the billboard, Frost's art doesn't seem constrained by the actual logistical problems of painting in on a billboard.
Furthermore, the billboard is located at a prime spot at one of LA's most heavily trafficked intersections, on Sunset near Crescent Heights. It doesn't matter what time of the day or night it is, there are always people around the area. It would have been difficult to bomb the billboard at all, but the way it was done with art all over would have taken a fair amount of time to get up. It just seems super unlikely that Phil Frost--who is not a traditional street artist--would risk this action, and an even stranger tale that he would be able to get away with it without getting caught with all the the ladders and ropes up there.
BUT, to add a whole additional level of intrigue to the situation, it is not unusual for street art to get stolen from walls or electrical boxes, but the only time M&F has ever heard of a billboard being stolen to take the art was with Banksy's Living the Dream billboard in 2011. The Banksy billboard had many similarities to the Frost billboard in that there were questions the logistics and how the billboard itself was bombed, who painted it, who owned the piece, and who took it down, and where it would end up. The police were also called out to mediate with the Banksy situation, but ultimately, the owners of the billboard kept the 'stolen' Banksy billboard. Last we heard, Banksy's Living the Dream was set to get hung in a casino wall in Las Vegas.
Sound familiar? Well, what would you think if you found out that the Frost billboard which has reportedly been stolen was located at the exact same location on Sunset as Banksy's Livin' the Dream.
Coincidence? Maybe. If you buy that, we know someone who has some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you. This press release is offering a reward and asking for any information on the 'stolen' billboard, but M&F is waiting for the Frost piece to show up on a casino wall in Las Vegas.
What do followers of M&F think? Is there any way this could this be legit? And does it feel like advertisers are trying to 'use' the scene?
Check out the pictures and the official press release below:
For immediate release; Phil Frost / Samuel Bayer $50K Billboard Stolen
in Los Angeles
March 11, 2013 - Los Angeles, CA - In celebration of his solo fine art
photography show at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills, Samuel Bayer designed a
series of billboards around the Los Angeles area. The billboards
featured artwork from Samuel's show which consists on diptych and
triptych portraits of female models.
Shortly after going up, one of the billboards (located on Sunset Blvd
east of Crescent Heights Blvd) attracted the attention of legendary
painter and fine artist Phil Frost. Frost painted the billboard with
two of his iconic characters plus signed the billboard with his name.
The billboard, now estimated at a value of over $50,000 with the
addition of Frost's art, was stolen Monday March 4th between the hours
of 6pm and 10pm.
"It’s definitely been one of the most bizarre and overzealous
situations we have seen. In the 14 years of business we have never
encountered such a situation." said Majd Elias of Swing Media, owners
of the billboard company who have filed a police report.
Samuel Bayer is asking for anyone that has information on the
billboard's disappearance to please come forward for a reward. Samuel
Bayer's show runs through April 27th, 2013 at Ace Gallery Beverly