BY SHANTI ESCALANTE-DE MATTEI
A building in Los Angeles with a Banksy work of a girl on a swing appearing to hang from a preexisting “Parking” sign is going on sale this October, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Tarina Tarantino and Alfonso Campos purchased the building in 2007 for $4 million, intending to make it the headquarters for their business, the Tarina Tarantino accessories brand. Banksy made the work on an alley-side wall of the building in 2010.
The pandemic lockdown hit the brand hard, and the owners have since filed for bankruptcy protection; they are set to auction the building with Hilco Real Estate as part of the filing.
“This is an extremely difficult property to value. You can’t look at it from just a straight real estate appraisal value. You can’t look at it from a straight art value. It’s a combination of both,” Jeff Azuse, senior vice president of Hilco Real Estate, told the Times. “An auction, when you let the market determine the value, is very beneficial when it’s difficult to put a value on a property or an asset.”
Though it’s difficult to assess the value that the Banksy artwork brings to the building, Tarantino and Campos estimate they may get as much as $30 million for the seven-story building.
Despite Banksy’s intention that his graffiti be free public art, that hasn’t stopped two different English landlords from removing entire walls of buildings on which Banksy made his work in the hope of selling them for big money. The Times reports that big auction houses like Sotheby’s were offered these carved-out murals and refused to sell them, but the two English landlords managed to sell them for six-figure sums in private sales.