Street Art Behind Plexi: Ridiculous or Reverence?

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Over the last few years, the selling of street art in precious environments like galleries, auctions and art fairs has yielded tens of thousands of dollars. With street art now big business it wasn’t entirely surprising when we heard about a Banksy stencil being encased in a large piece of Plexiglas to protect it from the elements and presumably other artists. The move came from the building’s owner who discovered the value of his vandalized wall and may eventually cash in on it.

That was in February. Now, works by Mr. Brainwash, Banksy’s protégé, hack, hero — whatever you want to call him — are also being covered in Plexi. On the streets of LA, two of the artist’s pieces (a golden Oscar and a little boy with a camera, put up just before the Academy Awards) were seen with a layer of plastic over them, but it remains unclear who is behind it. Was it building owners, or Mr. Brainwash himself, attempting to prove his work is worth the same as his predecessor?

Whoever gave the orders, it’s likely we’re going to see more work safeguarded in the future, and that raises questions about the sanctity of street art. Some debate that it’s good to preserve the art giving it a longer life and able to be enjoyed by more people, others cite that it’s completely contrary to the ethos of the movement. What are your thoughts?

Banksy’s Crayon House Foreclosure [via Melrose+Fairfax]

Banksy’s Crayon House Foreclosure [via NOTCOT]

Banksy’s Crayon House Foreclosure [via Melrose+Fairfax]

Mr. Brainwash [via Melrose+Fairfax]

Mr. Brainwash detail [via Melrose+Fairfax]

Mr. Brainwash [via Melrose+Fairfax]

Mr. Brainwash detail [via Melrose+Fairfax]