.The story in a nutshell, Banksy painted a slogan on an abandoned water tank by the Pacific Coast Highway that links Los Angeles' coastal suburbs of Santa Monica and Malibu turning it (some consider) into a "work of art". This was bought by an organisation called Mint Currency from the owners (Calex Engineering company) who seem to have been unaware at the time that the status of their abandoned property had changed, so they reportedly agreed to sell it for "a pittance". Now Mint Currency (is this them?) are holding the tank in a secure warehouse close to the San Fernando Valley looking for a purchaser who will "pay tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars for it" (www.banksyelephant.com).
See Guy Adams, 'Did Banksy's latest work bring misery to a homeless man? ', Independent 19 March 2011.
I was struck by the arguments used by Mint Currency (partners "Tavia D", Christian Anthony, who runs a design firm, and Jorge Fernandez and Steve Gallion, who have day jobs at a waste-disposal company called Waste Stream Solutions) to justify their motives for acquiring this hunk of scrap metal for which a market can now be found. "Tavia D" says:
"If you read some of the street-art blogs, people are saying that whoever removed the piece is just out to make money," [...]. "But that's not true. We love art and did this because want to preserve it and inspire others with it. Ultimately, we want to see the elephant exhibited where it can inspire people, so we hope it goes to a gallery. This is actually a rescue mission."We seem to have heard that before from people seeking to profit from collectables.
Photo: The water tank in question, from Flickr