Should You Pay Money to Look at Graffiti? Banksy Doesn't Think So.
Featuring works by graffiti artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, the "Art in the Streets" exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has been billed by its curators as "the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art." The exhibit has drawn record attendance for the museum, each one garnering a $10 general admission fee.
The irony that a museum is charging people money to look at an art form that is usually seen for free hasn't been lost on Banksy, who stepped in to sponsor free admission to the exhibit every Monday until the show closes on August 8. "I don’t think you should have to pay to look at graffiti. You should only pay if you want to get rid of it," Banksy told MOCA's Curve blog. But his statement reveals a conflict of interest that has marked his career from the beginning: The artist, whose graffiti works already sell for upwards of $200,000 at elite art houses like Sotheby's, will undoubtedly benefit financially from the exhibit.