Street artist taking on the global artworld media spectacle
The street artist and provocateur is on this list because he neither seeks nor needs the support of the artworld’s established critical, institutional or commercial infrastructures. While the man behind the moniker remains in the shadows, Banksy the brand is rarely out of the news, and over the course of a three-decade career has become the British artist most cherished by the public that museums are forever claiming to serve. His headlines in the past year include shredding an artwork mid-auction (moments after its sale for £1m); opening a merchandise shop after a dispute with a greetings-card company; and producing the stab-proof vest worn by grime star Stormzy during his set at Glastonbury festival (yours for £850). His popularity is matched by his commercial clout: his 2009 painting Devolved Parliament fetched £9.9m at auction in October, and The Art Newspaper predicts Banksy will open a secondary market sales platform. Which, whatever their opinion of his work, gives the artworld’s gatekeepers something to chew over.