MIAMI – Banksy has developed a worldwide reputation as an irreverent prankster. He often uses the element of surprise as part of his public satirical messages to people in power.
This is why it’s out of character that the artist entrust a little known Miami-based artist to announce “the unveiling” of his artwork at 11 a.m. on Friday at a ruined 11-story building in Miami-Dade County.
The Wednesday news release to reporters has some instructions: “If you think you know what to expect, however, think again, as the nature of the artwork will change abruptly. So keep your eyes peeled, get a good view on the western-facing wall.”
The former hospital at 17300 NW 7 Ave., in Miami Gardens is a local graffiti “penit” that is visible to drivers on the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 95. Adrian Valenzuela, a 21-year-old Californian who lived in Broward, recently fell to his death there.
After the Valenzuela family tragedy made the news, Joël James, a Miami artist who uses the “Alien Observers” pseudonym, signed the news release announcing Banksy’s “surprise mural to get Miamians to the vote!”
Banksy hasn’t officially confirmed his identity, so this often lends itself to impersonators and false allegations of proxy artists. Contemporary art experts are certain that Banksy’s secretive vandalism began in Bristol, England, and that he uses his Pest Control Office to authenticate his work.
The Pest Control Office’s warning: “Banksy doesn’t outsource being Banksy to anyone else.”
There was also no mention of the alleged Miami unveiling on Banksy’s Instagram.
Banksy’s recent political art includes the “M.V. Louise Michel,” a rescue ship with the image of a girl who is holding on to a heart-shaped safety float. The 98-foot ship followed his “Walled Off Hotel,” a building in Bethlehem with views of the West Bank wall.
Advocates for refugees' rights had been using Banksy’s “Louise Michel” to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea until last week when “growing restrictions imposed on civil rescue ships” put a stop to the operation.
Earlier this year, Banksy’s “Forgive Us Our Trespassing” sold for $8.3 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong and “Show Me the Monet” sold for $9.8 million at Sotheby’s in London.