Banksy's Playmate Of The Month

Year: 2000
Medium: Acrylic
Dimensions: 44 x 39cm
Last Hammer: £150,000 (Sotheby’s London, 2018)
Signed/Unsigned: Unsigned
This work by Banksy shows a military tank, sporting a pair of bunny ears, against a blue background.Playmate Of The Month © Banksy 2000
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

Interested in buying or selling

Browse artworks

Banksy, the anonymous street artist known for his subversive political commentary, presents a potent symbol of martial power softened by an unexpected twist of humour in Playmate Of The Month. The piece presents an imposing tank, an emblem of warfare, whimsically adorned with pink rabbit ears against a deep blue backdrop. It exemplifies Banksy's unique ability to juxtapose symbols of innocence with those of conflict, prompting a deeper reflection on contemporary global issues and their cultural implications. This is synonymous with the artist’s creative output, where the clash of the playful and the serious compels the viewer to question their perceptions of the world's problems.

Playmate Of The Month: Meaning & Analysis

Banksy's Playmate Of The Month is a striking acrylic work measuring 44x39cm, created in 2000. This piece illustrates the artist’s capacity to provide social commentary through art, as the distinct pink rabbit ears that sit atop the tank are a playful addition signifying a deeper incongruity within the social fabric – one that the artist consistently unveils through his work. It is an example of Banksy's ingenious use of contrast, cleverly wrapping his messages in visual contradiction. Here, the fierce militaristic power of the tank is offset by the gentle, traditionally non-threatening imagery of rabbit ears, which evokes a sense of nostalgia and childhood innocence. The title, on the other hand, evokes a sexual vision of womanhood, typically associated with glossy magazine centrefolds, and sardonically alludes to the way in which war can be glamorised. Banksy is critiquing a culture that often consumes images of conflict with the same detachment with which it might flip through a raunchy magazine. The artwork beckons us to explore the romanticisation of the machinery of war, raising questions about our collective desensitisation to conflict and the manner in which profound issues of violence are often hidden beneath a veneer of entertainment. Banksy's method of integrating conflicting elements prompts a deeper contemplation of global conflicts and their elusive nature in the public's consciousness as a result of constant overexposure.

The painting serves as a narrative of the times, highlighting the persistent themes prevalent in Banksy's art: the critique of military interventions and the pervasive glorification of violence that characterises our contemporary reality. As a rare instance of Banksy's exploration with acrylic, the artwork provides a sharp commentary on power hierarchies, corruption, acquiescence, and the brutality embedded within contemporary society. The incongruity of a war machine sporting childlike appendages in Banksy’s oeuvre has not only sparked critical discourse but has also captured the fascination of the art market. Playmate Of The Month, with its anti-war undertones and critique of societal desensitisation to conflict, has established itself as a piece of significant auction value. Its allure lies in its rarity and potency, cementing its status within the echelons of high-value contemporary artworks.

“This piece cleverly juxtaposes the harsh realities of conflict with the frivolous consumption of violence as entertainment, challenging our desensitisation to war and the superficial ways in which society engages with such critical issues.”

Joe Syer
Joe Syer,Co-Founder & Specialist,MYArtbroker

A Commentary on Modern Conflicts

Echoing the Vandalised Oils series, particularly the notable Vandalised Oil (Choppers) and Vandalised oil #001, Playmate Of The Month shares the anti-war sentiment that is a propelling force in Banksy's oeuvre. By placing a symbol of war into a context that defies its intrinsic nature, Banksy challenges the viewer to reassess their understanding of global conflicts. The unexpectedness of the rabbit ears demands a second glance and, with it, a deeper contemplation of the often-overlooked sensitive issues surrounding modern-day warfare. This work fits seamlessly within his larger oeuvre, as the artist seeks to maintain a consistent narrative that scrutinises the modern-day practice of military interventions. It is evident that Banksy’s commitment to addressing social problems—specifically the normalisation of violence—has not wavered in the years since this piece was created. Through his art, Banksy consistently invites viewers to navigate the complexities of these issues, challenging the status quo and inspiring a reevaluation of our understanding of global conflicts.

The piece is an acute examination of power hierarchies, shining a light on the themes of corruption, compliance, and entrenched societal violence. Banksy's message is clear: the tools of war are omnipresent, yet so often overlooked, dressed up as something distinctly less ominous. Playmate Of The Month represents more than a singular statement within Banksy’s repertoire; it is a reminder of the absurdity and irony that underpin our world, encouraging a persistent (if uncomfortable) dialogue about the true cost of conflict and the often unseen forces that shape our reality.

Playmate Of The Month: Exhibition History

BANKSY: Exhibition, New Paintings, Photographs and Graffiti, Bristol, Severnshed, 2000

Buy and sell artworks

Discover live market data against your collection

The only dedicated prints portfolio management system in the world. Add your collection to track value in real time.

Track demand on our trading floor

Track live demand in works from our artist's portfolios and view access to the works you're looking for.

What to
Invest in Now

Data-driven market commentary on what's driving growth, supply & demand in the Prints and Multiples market.