Back in May & June we wrote about Banksy’s trip to Detroit and his mural that was created in the old derilict Packard plant there. That mural of a boy with a paint can saying “I remember when all this was trees” was quickly excavated from the cinder block wall it was painted on by the local art group 555 Nonprofit Gallery & Studios, they moved it to their gallery space and quickly came under threats and negative attention. Well now they are in court.
Bioresource Inc., the company owned by land speculator Romel Casab, filed suit this week in Wayne County Circuit Court to regain possession of the mural. The suit which names 555 Gallery and it’s executive director Carl Goines as defendants says the 1,500 pounds mural, which may be worth $100,000 or more, was removed without authority and that 555 Gallery did not respond to a letter dated June 7th demanding it’s return.
The 555 artists have attested from the beginning in May that they took the work to prevent its destruction and have no interest in selling it. Gallery attorney Don Lewis said his clients were given permission to take the mural by a scrap metal removal crew foreman named Butch.
“That’s a key issue,” Lewis said. “Would a jury think it was reasonable to assume that he had the authority he said he did — that he was speaking on behalf of the owner?”
I keep saying this isn’t over and that eventually Bansky might make a statement since it serves his interests to be the final voice but he does have a history of disavowing works once they are removed or altered from their original state. This may be no different, but there will be more to come I am sure.