This LA building with Banksy’s ‘Girl on a Swing’ mural will be auctioned soon

·3-min read
Banksy girl on swing LA auction
Banksy girl on swing LA auction

A historic Los Angeles building with the famous Banksy mural, Girl on a Swing, on its side is up for auction.

The building is located in the city’s Fashion District in Downtown and became an international attraction when Banksy painted the Girl on a Swing, which is also known as Swing Girl, on its side in 2010.

Here are more details about the auction of the Los Angeles building and Banksy’s mural

About the artwork

Street artist Banksy was in the city ahead of the LA première of his film Exit Through The Gift Shop in 2010. The mural, measuring 12 feet by 33 feet (3.6 metres by 10 metres), appeared on the side wall of the building located at 908-910 S a few days before the film’s première.

It shows a young girl enjoying a swing beneath a huge “PARKING” sign painted on the wall. Banksy whitewashed the “ING” to leave the word reading “PARK.” The swing is seen attached to the letter A.

Experts believe this was Banksy’s way of commenting on the lack of children’s spaces in megacities such as Los Angeles.

The building is a historic structure

LA Building Banksy
Image credit: Hilco Real Estate

According to The New York Times (NYT), the building featuring the mural is itself an Art Déco building constructed in 1914. It was designed by Meyer & Holler, whose other projects include Grauman’s Chinese and Egyptian theatres.

The building initially housed a costume company from where producers of silent films sourced garments.

The seven-storey building with an area of 26,000 square feet (2,415 square metres) was bought by its current owners, Tarina Tarantino and Alfonso Campos, for USD 4 million (around SGD 6 million) in 2007. Over the decade, they spent USD 1.8 million (around SGD 2.52 million) on renovations.

Why is the building being auctioned?

Rental losses due to the pandemic forced the owners to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2022. The property will be auctioned by Hilco Real Estate as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. Bids are invited till 20 October, according to Hilco’s official site.

According to the NYT report, court filings indicate the owners are estimating the Los Angeles building at USD 16 million (SGD 22.4 million), excluding the Banksy mural. While the owners believe the building could fetch around USD 30 million (SGD 42 million) if the mural is included in the valuation, they say that appraisers haven’t been able to give them a figure.

The report says that the new owner might physically remove the section containing the Banksy artwork and sell it separately as others have done in the past.

Quoting former Sotheby’s specialist Holly Dunlap, the report states that the mural alone can be worth USD 10 million (SGD 14 million), but there is a possibility that auction houses might not show equal interest if it is separated from the building.

“Whenever buildings have a Banksy on them, that Banksy is much more valuable on the building than it is as a piece of brick,” Dunlap told the NYT.

(Hero and featured image credit: Ted Soqui / Contributor/Getty Images)

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