Find out more about Banksy’s Applause series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.
Applause was first released in 2006 as a work on canvas in the artist’s exhibition Barely Legal, held in an industrial warehouse in Los Angeles, where 100 unsigned prints were also released and sold for $500 apiece.
The print was part of the Barely Legal Box Set which also includes Grannies, Morons, Trolleys, Sale Ends and Festival. However while the prints in the set measured approximately 76 cm x 57 cm, Applause measures 114 cm x 76 cm, and is the most detailed work in the editions, resembling a sketch as opposed to Banksy’s usual stencil art.
The work depicts a fighter jet on the runway of a huge aircraft carrier and is based on a well-known image of former American President George W. Bush deploying a military bomber. Next to the jet are two air traffic controllers wearing high-vis jackets and preparing the fighter jet for take-off. One of the controllers is holding a sign on which is written the word APPLAUSE in capital letters, like those employed in comedy theatres to ask the audience to cheer on cue.
The artwork is monochromatic, except for the yellow of the controllers’ vests and the red sign, and highlights the trivialisation of serious issues such as military power. The artist signifies his overt disapproval of a world in which images of aggression are communicated 24 hours a day through television or social media, where dramatic events in the world of politics and war have become a form of amusement, leading to the public becoming desensitised to the true nature of violence.
Why is Applause important?
In Applause, Banksy, renowned for his social and political commentary through his artwork, uses this famous image to blame the media for the trivialisation of modern warfare. The work signifies the press’s attempt to cheapen serious themes in the news into entertainment, suggesting the audience watching from afar are prompted to clap and celebrate on demand.
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