Banksy’s Diamond In The Rough: the highlight of Christie’s auction in the 21st Century Evening Sale in NYC

Banksy's 'Diamond In The Rough' highlight of Christie's auction. (IANS)
Banksy's 'Diamond In The Rough' highlight of Christie's auction. (IANS)

Christie's will present Banksy's Diamond In The Rough, 2010 (estimate: $3,000,000 – 5,000,000) as a leading highlight in the 21st Century Evening Sale in New York City, which will take place this May at Rockefeller Centre. The piece is a brilliant blend of readymade surfaces and Banksy's instantly recognisable style. It uses perceived notions of rebelliousness associated with street art to draw attention to the genre.

Its inventiveness stems from the artist's seemingly simple choice of subject matter as well as its ability to spark discussion about the art form as a whole. Diamond In The Rough is a cultural statement in and of itself, a testament to the place of street art in the canon juxtaposed with society's inability to completely extract it from its perceived history.

Diamond In The Rough, painted on a steel and glass truck door, uses existing graffiti as a backdrop for a young girl rendered in Banksy's signature stencil mode, who is positioned at the bottom of the frame.

Her hand cradles a glowing gem with shine lines emanating from all sides, reminiscent of Keith Haring's playful compositions. Haring, a direct predecessor of Banksy, famously used public transportation as his canvas decades before, foreshadowing some of Banksy's own work.

Ana Maria Celis, Christie's Head of the 21st Century Evening Sale, remarks, "One of the most enigmatic figures in 21st century art, Banksy is a noted critic of society and capitalism who continues to push the envelope in recontextualising the historical significance of street art. Banksy's activated walls, doors, and various detritus with his stencils, sprays, and brush are entrancing-they simultaneously speak to a specific moment in contemporary culture and pay homage to the living organism that is the metropolitan city. We are thrilled to have Diamond In The Rough in our 21st Century Evening Sale this May. Incredibly fresh to market, it is a brilliant example of Banksy's unmatched ability to inject meaning into found objects and flawlessly incorporate urbanity into his practice."

Diamond In The Rough first appeared in the seminal MOCA survey Art in the Streets in 2010, the first major US museum exhibition of graffiti and street art. The work was purchased by the current owner immediately after the exhibition and has remained in the same collection ever since.

During a visit to Detroit around the same time as the present example, the artist used the same motif on the city's walls, but that work has since been destroyed. A simpler composition of a girl holding a gem was painted on the cinderblock wall of an abandoned Detroit storefront, and its attempted removal by unidentified parties resulted in its demise.

The work will be on exhibition at Christie's Hong Kong April 20 – 21 before returning to New York, where it will be on view at Christie's New York ahead of the Marquee Week sale in May. (AS/IANS)

Keywords: Diamond, Auction, Diamond In The Rough, Rockefeller.

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