BANKSY – (British Street Artist, b. 1974)

‘Broken Window Theory’ (Leeds, August 2003)
Stencil and spraypaint on a concrete block wall
Size (unframed): 160 x 140 x 15 cm. (63 x 55 x 5.9 in) (+/-)

Estimate: 225,000 / 275,000 euro

(Listed in Hessink’s ‘Catalogue Raisonné of Banksy’s Street Art’, as No. 542 and shown on the front cover of ‘The Observer Music Monthly’, September 2003)



- Excellent and Authentic

- This large scale work by Banksy depicts a small television flying through a window, sending large shards of glass into the air as it drags its long cord behind it. Sprayed onto a plain concrete block wall, it is a very powerful, monochrome image that likely satirically references the ‘Broken Window Theory’ (see ‘the story behind’ below). It is the only known rendering of this stencil, with another version appearing in Old St, London the same year (see: Hessink’s ‘Catalogue Raisonné of Banksy’s Street Art’, No. 287).


- Following the success of their Think Tank album for which Banksy did the album artwork, Blur were invited to appear on the front cover of the launch issue of the Observer Music Monthly magazine in September 2003 and commissioned Banksy to design the backdrop for their photo shoot. The photo-shoot and interview was booked for the afternoon of the band's headlining performance at the Leeds Festival and was beset with problems from the start. To quote the Observer, ‘A date was set for the afternoon of the group’s headlining performance at the Leeds Festival, but that almost fell through as two days before the shoot Banksy went AWOL. It later transpired that he had been arrested in Berlin for defacing a building.’


On arriving at the venue, it was apparent to Banksy that there was nothing obvious for him to paint on, and so a neighbouring farmer granted him permission to paint something onto a concrete block wall and something else onto the metal doors of his duck shed. Banksy produced two works that afternoon, the first depicting a TV being thrown through a broken window, which was painted onto the concrete block wall and was later used by the Observer with the band appearing below. The second work depicted a girl hugging a TV and was painted onto the doors of the duck shed.

- Banksy said of the Think Tank album collaboration: “I've done a few things to pay the bills, and I did the Blur album. It was a good record and the commission was quite a lot of money. I think that's a really important distinction to make. If it's something you actually believe in, doing something commercial doesn't turn it to shit just because it's commercial. Otherwise you've got to be a socialist rejecting capitalism altogether, because the idea that you can marry a quality product with a quality visual and be a part of that even though it's capitalistic is sometimes a contradiction you can't live with. But sometimes it's pretty symbiotic, like the Blur situation”.



In the March 1982 issue of Atlantic Magazine, there was an article entitled 'Broken Windows’ in which the 'Broken Window Theory’ was first introduced, the theory being that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, it creates an environment of lawlessness where further crime and civil disorder will soon follow.



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