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Banksy truck to be an outlier at Bonhams Goodwood-Revival show

A 17-ton Volvo FL6 covered in graffiti by Banksy, UK-based graffiti artist and agent provocateur will go under the hammer on September 14 at Bonhams’s motor car festival and auction, the Goodwood Revival sale. Bonhams estimates the artwork/transport opportunity will be knocked down for between $1,300,000 and $2,000,000 (£1,000,000-1,500,000). Without the paintwork an FL6 of this vintage normally sells for about $8,000 at a conventional second-hand truck dealership.

Still, this is an unprecedented event for the Sussex festival, while, the artwork titled ‘Turbo Zone Truck (Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be in Charge)’ is also the largest-ever work by Banksy – with a painted surface of 80 square metres. It is, however, not the artist’s first vehicle-based artwork. In 2016, a Swat van featuring armed men and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz sold at Bonhams for £218,500 ($270,220).

The artist was presented with the truck by Mojo, the co-founder of Turbozone International Circus, in 2000. He is believed to have started working on it at an open-air party in Spain to celebrate the millennium. The artwork was completed over the next two weeks and the truck has since toured Europe and South America.

Bonhams’s website blurb says: “The images on the truck show the silhouette of a male figure swinging a hammer towards metal cogs. The background depicts flying monkeys and red stars with the word ‘circus’ stencilled across the back end of the truck and the reverse side of the truck shows a group of soldiers running away from a cannon. The title of the piece is stencilled above the soldier’s heads with ‘charge’ in large letters.”

The lorry has been signed twice in stencil by Banksy and comes with a certificate of authenticity from his company, Pest Control.  That’s in addition to any Volvo warranty.

Currently, as the fourth most sought-after contemporary artist on the market – with 550 works sold worldwide between July 2018 and June 2019 – Banksy has also enticed Christie’s and Sotheby’s into vying for success through him.

Sotheby’s opened its ‘Banksy / Online’ sale on September 6, offering a number of bestsellers including the revered Girl With Balloon, a variation of the famous painting that was destroyed live last October. The online auction will continue until September 19.

And if collectors miss their chance, Christie’s, too, will host an online auction titled ‘I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t’, based on a Banksy print with the same title. The flagship lot is Girl With Balloon (Gold) print, which is rarer than the one offered at Sotheby’s. It is estimated $185,000 – $300,00 (£150,000 – £250,000).

Ralph Taylor, Bonhams global head of post-war & contemporary art, said, “Banksy is arguably the most important artist to have emerged since the millennium and this, his largest commercial work, represents a new high-water mark of quality for works of his to appear at auction.”

Whether you’re a Banksy collector, a dealer or a car enthusiast at the Goodwood festival, ‘Turbo Zone Truck’ is worth a glimpse – and there’s no way you can miss it.

The place: Bonhams motor car auction, the Goodwood Revival Sale, Goodwood, Chichester, Sussex

The date: Saturday, September 14

The time: 1pm

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Yuvan Kumar

Yuvan Kumar

Yuvan is editor of PAI. He is an arts journalist editing a financial magazine about the art world. He has written across Corporate Jet Investor, Revolution.Aero and Helicopter/VTOL Investor, since joining the company in November 2018.