Banksy’s ‘Show Me The Monet’ sells for almost $10 million

Banksy’s 2005 parody of Monet’s famous work ‘The Water-Lily Pond’ is a commentary on modern commercialism and the subsequent environmental damage. It’s also just made big bucks at auction.

One of Banksy’s works titled ‘Show Me The Monet’ has just been sold at auction for $9.8 million USD.

It’s the second highest bid ever for a Banksy piece, having only been beaten by his 2009 work ‘Devolved Parliament’ that depicts chimpanzees posing as MPs inside the House of Commons. That one sold for almost $12 million USD in October 2019 and has yet to be outbid by any other Banksy artwork.

There’s something hilariously ironic about rich art collectors tripping over one another to get a hold on Banksy pieces, especially given that the majority of them heavily criticise unethical practices of governments, capitalism, and the hypocrisy of commercialism in the West.

‘Show Me The Money’ explicitly draws attention to the impact of globalisation on our environment. The painting is a direct recreation of the river trench from Monet’s original work, except in this modern version the water is filled with abandoned shopping trolleys and traffic cones. It’s an obvious commentary on the increasingly pollutive practices of modern living that have infiltrated and overwhelmed our natural spaces.

An official description on the piece by Sotheby’s describes it as a ‘dialogue on the impact of the corporate world on our environment and the sacrifices made at the expense of so-called human progress’.

These sacrifices become increasingly more alarming ever year. Just in the last week we’ve written about how melting Alaskan ice could unleash a ‘mega-tsunami’ in a matter of months, and how illegal air pollution in Texas has risen by 155% in 5 years. Keep in mind too that Banksy’s painting is from 2005, indicating just how long-term our problematic relationship with the environment really is.

Banksy has been making headlines throughout 2020 for a variety of novel artworks that poke fun at lockdown rules and encourage the wearing of masks.

One painting in April depicted rats running around a bathroom causing chaos, with a caption on Instagram that read ‘my wife hates it when I work from home’. A few months later he was in the news again for graffitiing rats onto a London Underground tube wearing face masks and using hand sanitiser, though they were quickly removed by cleaners who were ‘unaware they were by the artist’.

So, while this expensive sale of a fifteen year-old painting that overtly bashes commercialisation may be ironic, it does help to highlight Banksy and the activist causes that motivate the vast majority of his work. We may likely see another rat graffiti piece pop up somewhere by the end of the year, too – perhaps this time on the inside of that private pub at the House of Commons?

I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

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