Arts & Entertainment

From Basquiat to Banksy, street art goes from wall to auction

By Clàudia Sacrest

London, May 5 (EFE).- Once confined to the urban environment, street art has made a name for itself in the auction house in recent years, from Jean-Michel Basquiat, the iconic US artist who began painting murals in the late 1970s, to Banksy, the contemporary and mysterious British graffiti connoisseur.

To that end, Christie’s auction house, located in the heart of London, is hosting ‘Off the Wall: Basquait to Banksy,’ am exhibition showcasing artworks created by different artists throughout the years.

 “We start in the late 70s in New York where there was this group of artists that had felt that the city and the system had failed and came out to the streets to work, tagging billboards, tagging walls, tagging subways,” post-war and contemporary art specialist at Christie’s Claudia Schürch tells Efe.

From this generation, artworks by US artist Keith Haring, Rammellzee, Kenny Scharf and Basquiat, whose painting The Elephant is one of the collection’s key pieces, can be found in the exhibition, according to Schürch.

The artwork has a drawing of an elephant in the center, which has what appears to be a human body next to it.

Basquiat’s work is influenced by a traffic accident he had when he was a child as he would spend his entire stay at the hospital reading anatomy books.

Schürch says his mother gave him an anatomy book that she used to read to him when he could not move, adding he also read one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s books on how to paint a human body.

The exhibition, open for online browsing until May 7, also displays contemporary works to “see how street art is as relevant as it was then and how the practice has changed over the years,” she adds.

Among Christie’s collection, there are Banksy’s Pulp Fiction depicting the characters played by John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson in the movie, Rats on Safe, and 3D Glasses Rat, among others.

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