Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Care To Buy Banksy's Elephant?

I would give my left nut for a Banksy. But I wouldn't spend 20 bucks on the Elephant.

There seems to be a lot of drama surrounding the removal of Banksy's 'This Looks A Bit Like An Elephant'. Click the jump to hear what people are saying and view the new website proffering this piece for sale

Got a cryptic email this morning with nothing but this website link to Banksyelephant.com. The website is interesting in that it gives a brief breakdown of who Banksy is, and then tries to offer the Elephant for sale.

It tries to hype the Elephant saying 'One work stood out' from all of Banksy's work in LA. And no doubt the Elephant does stand out. It stands out as an eyesore along the highway. It also stands out as the least artistic, and the most difficult to have or display as this mammouth is bigger than a semi truck.

We are interested to see where this Banksy ends up, because it seems like no one wants it. Who wants to pay tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, for an industrial water tank with some words stenciled on it? Museums don't have the space, and collectors would go for something more aesthetic. Our take is that this beast will cost more to move than it is worth.

And we have heard talk that once a Banksy is removed, it loses context. And this could not be more clear than with this piece. Banksy's stenciled quip was not profound, but it is clever. And it was successful in that it got people to look at this industrial leftover in a different way. But once the elephant is domesticated, once it is moved out of its natural environment, it becomes much less clever. And who wants to look at something like this all the time? Not me. And probably not that many people out there.

After reading up on the history of the water tank before it became an 'Elephant', we have become suspicious that this spot was hit for the sole reason to have it removed. Many people had complained about the water tank being left along the highway for years. Maybe Banksy has a friend who wanted it gone, or maybe he is friends with the owner who finally had financial incentive to have the tanker removed.

And as for the website itself, it grinds us the wrong way. We hate websites that have constant motion, or banners that begin playing without being clicked. It is very professional, no doubt, but a headache to view. Which is kind of like the elephant in a lot of ways.

And the drama doesn't stop end with the Elephant going up for sale. We have been hearing a lot of rumors swirling about Banksy's 'Elephant'. A few days ago we received a brief email saying that the Banksy removal "was all my fault", and the person wanted an interview on the blog. We told them that we would love to hear what they have to say, but we haven't heard back yet.

We look forward to hearing the whole story, and think it will be interesting to see where the Elephant finds a home, and how much it is actually worth (if anything).


  1. What's so clever about the this piece? Yeah it looks sort of like an elephant, but who can't see that. Maybe I'm missing the point, but this piece does nothing for me.

  2. Banksy was clearly using this piece to relay a message once again that homelessness is the elephant in [America's] room. He used the live elephant to relay this message at the art exibit and carried that message to this water tank. There are probably thousands of abandoned water tanks in the world and they all look the same. Banksy chose to write this message on this tank because of the homeless guy living in it! The art is not the ugly words stenciled on the side, its the message. And its not about the water tank, its about the guy living in it. Not only does this watertank look a bit like an elephant, it is an elephant.

  3. Looks like an eviction

  4. Fucking assholes. That water tower sat there for SO MANY YEARS and no one did anything until this?!!


    But you own't be, because you are a selfish, self-centered moron that just took irony to a whole new level.

    Taking that mans home from him, in the name of profit?!! This is the real America I know!!! YOU FUCKING PRICKS!


  5. I know the guys that have the water tank. You should not be so quick to judge people without knowing the whole story. First of all, the homeless guy got kicked out of that water tank 2 years ago by the city and was not currently living there. Second of all, these guys moved the tank with the sole intention of preserving the art. No one is going to guard the water tank 24/7 or put plexi glass around it like the other remaining LA pieces. They are not trying to profit from this piece at all, they are fans of Banksy's and want to protect it from another idiot splashing paint on it and writing MBW, or some lame ass swastikas. Which guaranteed would have happened if the tank was left there for another week. If you are fans of Banksy, you should be thanking these guys for moving it. Maybe the next generation will be able to view this piece at some museum one day, who knows?

  6. But you get that it loses it's meaning when it's not where it was right? I guess it will always be an elephant.


  7. The story of the homeless man sheds light on the meaning of the piece as someone pointed out. I still don't understand why people think Banksy's work defies the nature of street art, and is untouchable. Banksy brought attention to the spot, and it is not destroying the piece if someone goes up in the same spot.

  8. There's a difference between someone going up in the same spot and someone just ruining a piece with the purpose of ruining it. We all saw what happened to Crayola Shooter. I would not define that as someone "going up" in the same spot...

  9. Why not? Why does a Banksy piece get preferential treatment? Shit happens all the time. The nature of Banksy's street art is ephemeral, and complaining about it being ruined is childish.

  10. Other artists hate on Banksy because they are jealous. Same reason they call Shepherd Fairey a sell out. Someone destroyed the Crayola shooter and put up MBW just because that piece was a Banksy, I dont think they would have done that if it was someone else's work. I think it was childish of someone to tag MBW, that was weak as hell. I am not sure I would even call that art. If you are going to go over someone else's stuff, put up a real piece. Banksy's work gets preferential treatment because he is famous. Thats why people cut out walls that his pieces are on.

  11. Exactly, fame is a double-edged sword. He has put himself in the public sphere and people react differently. Some go the fanboy route and gush at every new Banksy piece. Some look at him and see just another artist working on the street who just happens to have corporate backing.