Is this Banksy pop up – a shop, a response, or art ?
The mystery artist launches a Banksy pop up shop.
British artist Banksy – possibly the most infamous / anonymous social commentator of our time – has just opened his own Banksy pop up shop in south London, selling a range of “homewares”. The artist announced the store on Instagram : “This showroom is for display purposes only. I’m opening a shop today (although the doors don’t actually open). It’s in Croydon. Probably best viewed at night.” In one short day that post has already had 700,000+ likes and over 5,000 comments…
The store launched on Tuesday in Croydon – but it will never actually open the doors*. Sales will be made online… ‘though the GrossDomesticProduct website isn’t trading yet (as at 3rd October). The Banksy pop up shop is unusual – the merchandise is viewed (…contemplated…) from street-side and just seems a mis-match of various / incongruous objects. They’re “impractical and offensive” (says the artist himself)*
It doesn’t seem clear if those items are actually for sale (Banksy famously doesn’t sell his artworks…) – and maybe they’re not ! The Banksy pop up shop is primarily his response to a trademark dispute over rights to use the “Banksy” name. The artist says a “greeting card company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art… and attempting to take custody of my name (trademark) so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally…”* In response, a legal advisor suggested opening the pop up store. “Banksy is in a difficult position,” says arts lawyer Mark Stephens. “because he doesn’t produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear – if the trademark holder is not using the mark, then it can be transferred to someone who will.” The lawyer proposed that Banksy begin his own range of merchandise and open the shop as a solution to the issue.*
In typical Banksy-style the shop is making a subtle statement. Even the name of the store – gross domestic product – is a play on words. It seems more than just a Banksy pop up sales event, maybe considered an art installation in itself. Many “products” are new from Banksy… grossly re-purposed, day-to-day items. The Guardian.com describes various pieces within the store… disco balls made of police riot helmets, sofa cushions with the inscription ‘life’s too short to take advice from a cushion’, and a collection of wooden children’s toys “where migrant figures are loaded into a haulage truck”*
The Banksy pop up shop will remain (not open) for 2 weeks. The artist has said the “proceeds will go towards buying a new migrant rescue boat to replace the one confiscated by Italian authorities…*
images : Google Images, TheGaurdian.com
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