ART

PSA: People Are Paying for Street Art

Renowned auction house Sotheby's has started auctioning off street art, but does this remove the meaning of it?

Who would have thought we would see the day when street art would get auctioned off?

Renowned auction house Sotheby’s had their first auction dedicated to street art in Hong Kong last December, titled “TAKE IT TO THE STREETS: Auction to benefit HOCA Foundation”. A portion of the auction proceeds were donated towards funding the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation.

The 32 pieces of work were contributed from 29 well established international street artists, including the likes of Invader, Vhils, Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant) and José Parlá.

Jean-Michel Basquiat spearheaded the urban art movement back in the day, and this created a hype surrounding street art. But one might ask if the meaning of ‘street art’ changes when it becomes part of a private collection.

In an interview with The Value, a spokesperson said that the works definitely lose their technical meaning, “because they are removed from the street. However, the meaning of the works lie in the artists’ motives to paint, along with the materials they use.” She adds, “I don’t think it changes anything because when the artist starts in the street.. that’s part of them. But like everyone, they need to sell and eat, right? It is not a problem for street art to go into galleries. That’s actually the way it should be.”

Pieces from the collection were sold at prices between $2,500 and $123,000. Would purchasing street art be your go to if your pockets were lined?

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