Gross Domestic Product by Banksy

Gross Domestic Product Banksy

Find out more about Banksy’s ‘Gross Domestic Product’ series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.

In October 2019 an unusual shop appeared overnight in Croydon, South London. Its windows were filled with dystopian, tongue in cheek and yet striking artworks that could only have been made by one man, Banksy.

As queues of fans formed round the block it soon became clear that this was not a shop at all but merely a showcase for the artist’s latest project. The real shop was online, with the ironic title: ‘Gross Domestic Product™… where art irritates life’, and it wasn’t quite a shop in the traditional sense.

Rather than adopting a retail model of first come first served, Banksy decided to make his potential customers answer a question before they could own one of his artworks/products. This, according to the website’s text, would help keep out those who were just buying for investment, along with a polite notice which read, ‘Please refrain from registering at this time if you are a wealthy art collector.’

The (age-old) question to be answered was “Why does art matter?” and the answers were judged by comedian Adam Bloom for their humour, originality and sincerity. Once past this barrier, your name would be entered into a lottery to receive the piece you wanted to buy.

The shop appeared a year after the famous shredding stunt at Sotheby’s London when, as the hammer came down on one of his best-known paintings, Girl With Balloon, a self-destruct device was activated and the painting appeared to fall from its frame only to be shredded as the audience looked on in horror and amusement. The artist later made a video revealing how he had installed a shredding device into the work “in case it was ever put up for auction.” Gross Domestic Product seemed to be a natural consequence of this stunt, ensuring that Banksy could take ownership of primary sales of his work and enabling him to sell ‘merchandise’ for as little as £10 in a bid to make his art accessible to a wider audience.

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