Banksy Opens Online Shop of Affordable Wares, But There Is a Big Catch

The Banksy™ Shredded Tee costs £30, or around $38.50.


Just weeks after a Banksy painting sold for $12.2 million at Sotheby’s in London, the artist is offering some lucky fans with slimmer wallets a chance to acquire some of his work at a newly launched online shop.

On Instagram, Banksy announced that the store is hawking “art, homewares and disappointment.” Its name is Gross Domestic Product, and its tag line is “Solutions For Wealth.” Get it?

The items on offer range from mugs (£10, or about $12.80), purses (£750/$960), couch cushions (£150.00, or $190, for a pair), and—particularly impressive—a T-shirt with Banksy’s Girl With Balloon (2006) screenprinted on it, its bottom half shredded into cloth tendrils just as the actual work was shredded after it sold in London at Sotheby’s last October for about $1.4 million. The shirt is comparatively affordable: just £30, around $38.50.

A showroom of these tongue-in-cheek products cropped up in London earlier this month, drawing crowds by the thousands, but was dismantled earlier this week by the artist.

Fear not, though: even as brick-and-mortar stores shutter, online shopping is thriving. There is a catch for would-be buyers, though. In order to purchase pieces, you have to jump through a few hoops. Shoppers can purchase only one piece each, and to get through the cybersecurity portal, they must answer, in 50 words or less: “Why does art matter?”

Responses must be logged by October 28, and winners—which is to say, people who will be allowed to buy works—will be selected at random. According to the site’s fine print, the answers may also be used “in the event of demand outstripping supply.” (It should be noted that some pieces are available in only very, very limited editions.)

The site implores potential buyers to make their responses “as amusing, informative, or enlightening as possible.” One wonders what answer the buyer of the $12.2 million piece, Devolved Parliament (2009), would provide.

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