Written in a notepad somewhere- to be put into a folder I need to start of story ideas- is something along the line of “How would someone steal a valuable piece of graffiti?”
It turns out the answer is straightforward- they’d just chisel out the section of wall and cart it away. This is what happened to a Banksy piece in the huge, long abandoned Packard plant in Detroit. The group that took the wall section- a local arts collective- claim they only did it to protect the art. Others aren’t so sure. Matters are made more complex because ownership of the property isn’t clearcut. Maybe it belongs to a man serving time in California, maybe the owner is the mystery name on documentation, or perhaps the city has the right to reclaim the site for its own ends.
Says Luis Croquer, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, “This may be unprecedented, because in most other cities, you wouldn’t be able to take a wall home… What does it mean to move a wall? And beyond legality, who does the wall really belong to, and now does the art belong to the gallery? To everybody? To nobody? We’re operating in this space where there’s this lawlessness that opens up possibilities that would be much harder to encounter in other cities.”