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Banksy, Vote to Love (2018)
Banksy, Vote to Love (2018)via Sotheby’s

Banksy’s Brexit-themed artwork is going to auction

Vote to Love (2018) is still a hopeful reminder, even as it goes up for sale in post-Brexit Britain.

Back in 2018, Banksy (ever the playful scamp of the contemporary art world) submitted work to the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition under the pseudonym Bryan S Gaakman. The Brexit-themed piece – Vote to Love, which shows a Vote Leave placard defaced with a heart-shaped balloon – was promptly rejected.

Only when Grayson Perry, who was coordinating the exhibition, contacted Banksy for an artwork, and the artist resubmitted it under his own name, did it actually get into the show (valued at a satirical £350 million in reference to the Vote Leave campaign’s ridiculous, retracted claim about how much Brexit would generate for the NHS).

Now, post-Brexit DayVote to Love is going up for auction at Sotheby’s, in the auction house’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction (February 11). Undoubtedly, the history behind the Banksy artwork, as well as its now-historical status, has something to do with its estimate of £400,000 to £600,000.

The Sotheby’s listing details it as “spray paint on UKIP placard mounted on board” with “striking simplicity and raw immediacy”. 

Ironically, this is probably the same “simplicity” that led to it being initially rejected by the Royal Academy when it didn’t have Banksy’s name to it, meaning – as with much of the artist’s work – it doubles as a cheeky critique of the art world.

Also appearing at the auction are – among others – works by David Hockney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yves Klein, and Maurizio Cattelan, who recently caused controversy by selling that banana taped to a wall for $120,000.