Christie’s will be representing the Banksy’s Diamond In The Rough, 2010 (estimate: $3,000,000 – 5,000,000) as a leading highlight in the 21st Century Evening Sale in New York City taking place at Rockefeller Center this May.
The work is a brilliant combination of readymade surfaces and Banksy’s instantly recognizable style. It leverages perceived notions of rebelliousness attached to street art in order to bring more attention to the genre. Its ingenuity lies both in the artist’s seemingly simple choice of subject matter and its ability to spark conversation about the art form as a whole.
A cultural statement itself, Diamond In The Rough stands as a testament to the place of street art in the canon juxtaposed with society’s inability to completely extract it from its perceived history.
Painted on a steel and glass truck door, Diamond In The Rough employs extant graffiti as the backdrop for a young girl rendered in Banksy’s signature stencil mode, positioned at the bottom of the frame. Her hand cradles a glowing gem with shine lines emanating on all sides, reminiscent of the playful compositions of Keith Haring. A direct predecessor of Banksy, Haring also famously engaged public transit as his canvas decades prior, prefiguring some of Banksy’s own work.
Ana Maria Celis, Christie’s Head of the 21st Century Evening Sale, remarks, “One of the most enigmatic figures in 21st-century art, Banksy is a noted critic of society and capitalism who continues to push the envelope in recontextualizing the historical significance of street art.
Banksy’s activated walls, doors, and various detritus with his stencils, sprays, and brush are entrancing—they simultaneously speak to a specific moment in contemporary culture and pay homage to the living organism that is the metropolitan city. We are thrilled to have Diamond In The Rough in our 21st Century Evening Sale this May.
Incredibly fresh to the market, it is a brilliant example of Banksy’s unmatched ability to inject meaning into found objects and flawlessly incorporate urbanity into his practice.”
Diamond In The Rough made its debut in the 2010 seminal MOCA survey Art in the Streets, the first major US museum exhibition of graffiti and street art. The work was acquired by the present owner directly following the exhibition and has remained in the same collection since. The artist uses the same motif on the walls of the city of Detroit during a visit there around the same time the present example was created, however that work has since been destroyed.
A simpler composition of a girl holding a gem painted on the cinderblock wall of an abandoned Detroit storefront, its attempted removal by unnamed parties resulted in its ultimate demise.