Mysterious, globetrotting street artist Bansky might be shy of media attention, but his bitterly satiric 21st-century revision of an impressionist masterpiece is getting a great deal of press. This month, the painting fetched nearly $10 million at a Sotheby’s auction.
The piece offers a sledgehammer commentary on contemporary ecological sensibilities by recasting Monet’s languid afternoon idyll of a fin-de-siècle painting as either a familiar snapshot of the ecological catastrophe that’s unfolding around all of us, or a comic riff on a wrinkle in the human timeline.
The piece is one entry in a series called Crude Oils: A Gallery of Re-mixed Masterpieces, Vandalism and Vermin; the collection was shown in 2005, in London. Other masters given a visual DJ remix for our troubled times include van Gogh, whose Sunflowers are revised as quite forlorn indeed.