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You Be the Judge: Art Polarizes a Property Dispute

Aug 12, 2010

by Sarah Feingold

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What some may see as “street art” or political commentary, others may view as an illegal act of vandalism.  But this You be the Judge post does not examine the many issues surrounding graffiti. Instead, let’s take on a far easier task and don our imaginary judge’s robe to decide who has the right to a small piece of wall.

The city of Detroit has a long history of litigation with Bioresource, Inc. over an abandoned Packard Motor Car plant on Detroit’s east side. Built in the 1900s, this hazardous 40-acre site has sat unused for approximately forty years. The city wants the plant torn down and condemned. Bioresource, Inc. has denied ownership of the property, probably because the demolition and cleanup of the site could cost upwards of 20 million dollars.

In the midst of a debate over the responsibility for this dangerous plot of land, an image mysteriously emerged on a seven-foot cinder block wall. The graffiti depicted a little boy holding a paint brush and paint can, with the simple phrase, “I remember when all this was trees.” The image appears to have been created by famed English graffiti artist, Banksy. Banksy’s street art sells for several hundreds of thousands of dollars and his recent film, Exit through the Gift Shopreceived rave reviews.

Photo by Jason Mathews. Used with permission from 555 Nonprofit Studio and Gallery.

Shortly after the graffiti appeared, representatives of the 555 Nonprofit Studio and Gallery in Detroit detached the 1,500-pound wall and moved it into their space. The executive director of the gallery said a foreman told them the wall was going to be torn down. The gallery claims the foreman, whom the gallery took to represent the owner of the plant, granted them permission to remove the wall.

Bioresource, Inc. sued 555 and demanded the return of the mural. The gallery argues that they want to conserve the wall.

In an interesting twist, the city of Detroit sees this lawsuit as a public acknowledgment by Bioresource of responsibility for the plant and claims they will “hold the property owner accountable for this unsightly and dangerous situation.”

According to 555, they and the alleged owners of the Packard Plant will be in court on August 13th.

Who has the rights to the wall? Bioresource, Inc.? 555? The City of Detroit? Banksy? Or someone else?  In the comments below, you be the judge.

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118 comments

  • Ayca

    Ayca said 6 years ago

    Interesting! Thanks for sharing :)

  • buttermilkcreek

    buttermilkcreek said 6 years ago

    That is fascinating! I would favor the gallery keeping the mural and preserving it.

  • meekssandygirl

    meekssandygirl said 6 years ago

    Oooh, that's a tough one. So Bioresource wants the Banske, but won't pay for the clean-up, hmm...

  • meekssandygirl

    meekssandygirl said 6 years ago

    Ooops, I meant "Bansky" :)

  • ninotchkab

    ninotchkab said 6 years ago

    V. interesting. Love Banksy.

  • beachglassshop

    beachglassshop said 6 years ago

    Bioresource should DONATE the wall for one dollar ($1) to 555 and move on...

  • TweetTweetBluebird

    TweetTweetBluebird said 6 years ago

    I love Banksy!! his imagination is incredible!!! It would be great if the gallery could keep it and preserve it-it deserves that!

  • beachglassshop

    beachglassshop said 6 years ago

    Bioresource should donate this mural (wall) to 555 for one dollar ($1.00) and move on.

  • buysomelove

    buysomelove said 6 years ago

    OOOO I love this article. Working in a law firm, I can never get tired of reading articles like these. Thanks for sharing!

  • bread

    bread said 6 years ago

    oh pls make them clean it up!That would be so great for them to be held responsible!

  • buysomelove

    buysomelove said 6 years ago

    What a lovely read. Working in a law firm, I never get tired of articles like these. Thanks!

  • manvsgeorge

    manvsgeorge said 6 years ago

    Interesting case. Ironic that the (alleged?) owner of the condemned, hazardous, and decidedly non-green site is called Bioresource...

  • HennessyHandbags

    HennessyHandbags said 6 years ago

    I find it amazingly funny that the co. that denied owning the property now wants to claim that the wall with the mural is theirs. Perhaps this is a great way to preserve or bring attention to other areas. Paint unwanted walls and they suddenly become desirable. I'm sure this has other interesting and positive possibilities. Thanks for sharing this story. :)

  • trinityrocks

    trinityrocks said 6 years ago

    Auction it off to pay for the clean up of the site. Everyone wins!

  • RainyPenguinVintage

    RainyPenguinVintage said 6 years ago

    I hate to say it, but I think since Bioresource owns the wall, it technically belongs to them. If Banksy had scrawled his name across the wall, instead of making something more artistic, no one would say that the wall belonged to him. If so, I would go grafitti my name over some really nice houses right now :) But I love Bansky. He's great, and I think this whole affair brings attention to important issues like hazardous industrial sites, industrial decay, and Detroit's many issues in general--probably his intention in the first place. Jeanne

  • RainyPenguinVintage

    RainyPenguinVintage said 6 years ago

    Huh, I missed the part where it said the Bioresource denied ownership of the land. Bansky is a genius! Now this company will have to clean the place up!!!

  • OldTimePickers

    OldTimePickers said 6 years ago

    Whoops...their corporate greed is showing! Good for Bansky and his art! May be controversial now, but it does bring attention to the real issue!

  • foxpots

    foxpots said 6 years ago

    Ownership of the site and all attached real property should be a matter of public record. Whoever owns the site, owns the Banksy, unless the foreman had the owner's authorization to give the wall (and mural) away.

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 6 years ago

    Great article... It's Kafka-esque. Short sighted greed of gaining maybe a few hundred thousand dollars worth of unsigned graffitti "art" on a derelict wall attributed to banksy - not confirmed. This sounds like knee jerk greed on Bioresource's account. They magically forgot that they denied ownership of the land so they could dodge the $20 million cleanup assessed by the city. The city just wants the hazardous site cleaned up. The gallery, 555, greedy, too, thought it could do some five fingered discount shopping without answering to anyone since it was considered a no man's land. Hopefully, it will turn out well and they city can get Bioresource to accept responsibility.

  • GloucesterStreet

    GloucesterStreet said 6 years ago

    Can't the city look up who owns the land? Bioresource can deny owning the land all the want, but if there's legal paperwork saying the property is theirs, it's....well theirs, and they are responsible for it. That being said, the wall painting is technically Bioresource's too if the land is truly theirs.

  • DeltasWorkshop

    DeltasWorkshop said 6 years ago

    My main concern is that the site be cleaned up and made useful. Perhaps a park could be developed around the wall and the rest of the property used for low income housing and community garden.

  • HibouCards

    HibouCards said 6 years ago

    I love Bansky and I'm thinking he must be having a good laugh with all this mess! He managed once more to bring attention to an delicate issue with the use of Art, that's brilliant! ... a little beauty in all that messed up situation :) Now I do hope Bioresource will clean up THEIR mess! Anne-Claire

  • localevintage

    localevintage said 6 years ago

    Go Banksy for actually getting Bioresource to admit that they own that property! They should get the mural back and be required to auction it off to use the money for the clean up. Shame on the gallery, they probably knew what they were doing. You can't just go and take things from others and not expect to be caught...but maybe that was the point of all this. Interesting article.

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 6 years ago

    Poor Detroit...both sides want to capitalize. Split it down the middle!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage said 6 years ago

    Legally, Bioresource. Strange that they would claim the wall while denying need for cleanup. Maybe they figure they can sell it to cover cleanup costs.

  • bayousalvage

    bayousalvage said 6 years ago

    next, i hope Banksy returns to New Orleans and graffitis the last remaining thousand or so abandoned properties left to rot by corporations post K.

  • VeronicaRStudio

    VeronicaRStudio said 6 years ago

    I think I would go with the gallery on this one, since Bioresource doesn't want to clain ownership of the plant, they don't own the wall, do they? The gallery would see that this art is well preserved.

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 6 years ago

    Tough one... who owns the wall... they get it as far as I'm concerned.... However, hopefully they'll do something responsible with it.

  • ArtistBeingHuman

    ArtistBeingHuman said 6 years ago

    The mural, and the impact is immortalized in photos and in the minds of the people affected anyway... It's a story that bears repeating. This art has served a great purpose, and if bioresource's claims of ownership of the mural means they're also claiming ownership of the site, then they're also admitting liability for cleaning up the site.

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 6 years ago

    Very interesting!

  • TheHickoryTree

    TheHickoryTree said 6 years ago

    Being a Michigander this really ticks me off. If Bioresource wants ownership of the mural they better step up to the plate and clean up the mess they made first. Perhaps that's why the mural was put there in the first place, to lure the culprits out from under the covers. My, how their greed is showing. Perhaps Detroit could use that Mural as a down payment for the costly clean up that lies ahead for the city. Detroit needs to get tough with this one. Give the art to the art lovers and make big business do the right thing.

  • monkeyandsquirrel

    monkeyandsquirrel said 6 years ago

    interesting... i would think that if bioresource is claiming ownership of the mural, then they have claimed ownership of the wall, and therefore also ownership of the whole site. you can't just pick and choose what you would like to own out of the entire mess. ahhhh, banksy. causing debate far beyond what was originally intended i'm sure. gotta love him!

  • Emmamaha

    Emmamaha said 6 years ago

    Interesting story. I'd like to hear how it turns out. A new fan of Banksy now. What a wonderful gesture and the kind of message I wish all art would help convey..

  • santosleather

    santosleather said 6 years ago

    Fascinating !

  • blueflowervintage

    blueflowervintage said 6 years ago

    I love Detroit with all my heart and we have been suffering through a depression and a crime wave to go along with it that is spilling over into the suburbs. Bioresource looks especially bad within this context. There are so many abandoned dangerous sites in the city that the city itself can't afford to take care of. The Banksy piece (if it is Banksy) is an amazing gift to Detroit. The 555 Nonprofit Studio and Gallery is profiting from the media exposure (which is great because it is a cool organization) and has acquired a fantastic symbolic work to rally around. If Bioresource owns the site, clean it up. Otherwise get your grubby hands off the Banksy.

  • followingfireflies

    followingfireflies said 6 years ago

    i suppose that if banksy would've wanted it in a gallery, he would've offered it at gallery. i think they've disconnected the context when they moved the art. if bioresource is arguing claim to the wall, they also have claim to the rest of the property and the responsibility to take care of the clean up.

  • ArtistBeingHuman

    ArtistBeingHuman said 6 years ago

    Art does stuff :P

  • VIZArt

    VIZArt said 6 years ago

    I think the piece is site specific and it is a shame that it was cut down and moved. But since the damage is already done i think it belongs to the people of Detroit. Hopefully some good will come of it and Bioresource will be forced to clean up that mess and trees might someday return to the site.

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 said 6 years ago

    Large company walks away from hazardous and unsightly mess. Enter Artist who, lets face it, vandalizes the property. (Just because he has a "name" does not change what it is. Plus, has it been official deemed a "Banksy?) Gallery finds a way to, apparently for little or no cost, remove the wall - no big company needed - knowing that the wall has been deemed "valuable". Now company wants to own the "Art" but not the responsibility of cleaning up the rest of the space. The city should be given every single penny that company makes until the mess is cleaned up. I am glad there is the controversy over the wall, famous artist or not, because it sounds like Bioresource needs to clean it up.

  • DanceLikeIts1492

    DanceLikeIts1492 said 6 years ago

    Banksy's works always makes me stop to think. This time, many more people have had to think about the consequences of their actions. The non-profit 555 asked the property foreman in good faith for the wall, and should get to keep it. Bioresource does not deserve it. Bioresource needs to clean up and stop worrying about a piece of art that is worth little compared to the $20 million clean-up job waiting to happen.

  • miznovember

    miznovember said 6 years ago

    Ha Ha Ha! I think that if Bioresource wants their wall back, they need to take responsibility for the rest of the demolition. Serves them right for trying to avoid it in the first place. Way to go banksy!

  • newtonsfigs

    newtonsfigs said 6 years ago

    I think the courts need to iron out who actually owns the real estate. As for the art, 555 should have gotten written permission from the owner. I doubt a foreman working for a contractor had the authority to give away the real estate owner's property.

  • ShebboDesign

    ShebboDesign said 6 years ago

    I love Banksy, he is really brilliant artist and activist!!

  • laurakateiscrafty

    laurakateiscrafty said 6 years ago

    i think this whole this is interesting. banksy's thoughts on his work being sold seem to be a bit back-and-forth as well. he's done shows, but then does tongue-in-cheek pieces like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2cauldrons/4544226101/. re: mclovebuddy's comment "attributed to banksy - not confirmed." just a note that banksy has a photo of the detroit wall on his website. of course, he tends to wait a bit before posting pics so when this whole debacle starting in may it wasn't verified, but now it is.

  • JGoldsmithGallery

    JGoldsmithGallery said 6 years ago

    I'm a Detroiter, and my city has inspired so much of the art I've made. These are the things that make The D such a mysteriously beautiful place -- it's sort of like a microcosm for the "dark side" of the industrial era. If Bioresource assumes ownership of the property and the Banksy, perhaps they should donate it to the gallery and take the tax write-off, and the gallery could "pay it forward" and donate some proceeds to the City. Everybody wins... except Banksy I guess...? So happy that you posted this. Detroit is near and dear to my heart <3

  • anotherghostquilts

    anotherghostquilts said 6 years ago

    Art rules! I agree with whomever posted "auction it off and proceeds pay for clean-up". Great article

  • stubborndog

    stubborndog said 6 years ago

    Ha! How cool is that! Thanks for sharing.

  • dorothydomingo

    dorothydomingo said 6 years ago

    If Bioresource owns the mural then it seems reasonable that they own the land and the mess that sits on it. Let them pay for their environmental mess first then they can have the mural. What a brilliant way to draw attention to companies that bail on their responsibilities!

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 6 years ago

    Strange that Biosource would want to keep a piece of art that is a direct commentary against their anti-environmental actions. Their struggle to get a hold of that mural seems to be mere censorship of bad PR that this mural has brought for their company; once they get a hold of the mural, people can't see it in the gallery anymore and the public will become less aware of this environmental scandal.

  • CelesteCollier

    CelesteCollier said 6 years ago

    interesting story - please let us know how the courts rule on this one.

  • artfields

    artfields said 6 years ago

    The people of Detroit should "own" the art. That's a contradiction in itself: street art being "owned". Both the company and the city "owe" it to the residents of Detroit (my once hometown) to clean up the mess.

  • ItsSoPattyDesigns

    ItsSoPattyDesigns said 6 years ago

    I live in the area and Banksy did at least 3 murals in the area. In my opinion I think the Gallery should retain the wall to preserve it only. I don't believe they should be able to sell it and profit by it. The owners of the plant only want to profit by it. Which grinds me since they are unwilling to clean up the area. One of Banksy's other graffiti sites was destroyed by others trying to take a wall down so they could profit from the art. It is sad what people will do for money... Another graffiti site was covered over with paint by the owner of the building. He had no idea what he was covering up! He just figured it was vandalism!!!! I guess art is in the eye of the beholder...

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 6 years ago

    Very interesting twist.....& great mural too! Thank u 4 sparkin my brain so early in the day!

  • Memlews

    Memlews said 6 years ago

    Banksy's work is amazing and should be preserved. Being that Biosource wants to covet this work of art NOW means they want the bad PR/press to go away whereas if it stays in the public eye it keeps more individuals aware and remembering what is happening around them. Love this piece, thank you for posting and reporting on this matter <3 cheers.

  • mazinggrace

    mazinggrace said 6 years ago

    I think the wall should stay with 555 until Bioresource cleans their mess. If they want the wall they are making a claim to the land and the mess. Clean it up! then you can have your wall. Heck it was just to be destroyed anyway. Or better yet, I like the Auction idea. Bioresource claims the wall, they claim the land, pay for the clean-up the city then makes them auction the wall and use the proceeds to make a park or replant trees, maybe make it a community garden or something nice. Detroit needs some cleaning up.

  • ktjean

    ktjean said 6 years ago

    I definitely think the art is way better off at the gallery, but if giving it back to Bioresource would legally give them the responsibility to clean up the site, then that might be a better solution than having the art. I am sure the artist would rather have the site cleaned up than a dispute over a stupid wall...that was the point of the art in the first place. I hope it becomes an awesome park!

  • LuBluDesigns

    LuBluDesigns said 6 years ago

    This is interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 6 years ago

    I really love graffiti art. Let's hope Biosource owns it so they can be held responsible for this mess and clean it up. If they want a little good PR they can donate the wall to 555 and claim it on their taxes, 555 can send a bill to Bio for their part in the cleanup and Bansky gets the publicity and a ticket for trespassing. This could go on for years.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Well technically the original artist has rights to the piece but I'm not sure. Good on the gallery for saving it though! Maybe it'll help get people talking about land usage more giving a bit of attention to our urban spaces which seem to lie neglected while we put pressure on the countryside.

  • zJayne

    zJayne said 6 years ago

    Well I'll be on the fence here...just in case I'm called on for jury duty. I want to get in on this one!

  • AntoinettesWhims

    AntoinettesWhims said 6 years ago

    Interesting twists and turns in this story. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article. I think some graffti is quite beautiful. I didn't know about Bansky. Thank you for the info.

  • jh1023

    jh1023 said 6 years ago

    The city should specify a reasonable amount of time for Biosource to get the area cleaned up, as well as specifically define what they need to do for it to be considered "cleaned up". If Biosource achieves this goal, they will receive the wall. If after the specified time has passed the clean up is not complete, the property and wall should be considered abandoned, and the wall auctioned off to pay for the clean up (preferably turn it into a public park or something for the benefit of the community). During this time, the gallery gets to keep, preserve and display the wall.

  • jennifergibbs

    jennifergibbs said 6 years ago

    If I was judge and jury... Biosource has sued to get the Banksy artwork back, thereby admitting ownership of the site. If they do own the site they own the Banksy artwork, but Banksy would retain rights to reproduce the image. Biosouce is responsible for proper clean-up of the site. Biosource, in order to repair some of their bad PR, should then donate the artwork to 555. This way the artwork remains a public piece available for everyone to enjoy at no charge. If 555 ever closes is doors or wishes to remove the artwork, it should be donated to the city as public art or it should be auctioned off to raise funds for a local environmental charity or a charity of Banksy's choosing. The dream continues... If I could afford to buy the site after clean-up, I would turn it into a park and community garden and have the Banksy piece permanently installed. I would invite local grafitti artists to create other works for the park.

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry said 6 years ago

    I'd be curious as to the "grounds" (no pun intended) that Bioresource has in NOT owning the land. There has to be record of the ownership changing hands and therefore records of the responsibility owed. I commend the artist, Bansky or not, for bringing the ignored property (waste) to the forefront of the community's mind. It's a testament to the voice of art and whatever the outcome, I hope the land is cleaned up to spare the surrounding community. It will be the first step in a larger effort, I'm sure.

  • funkomavintage

    funkomavintage said 6 years ago

    ha ha ha. If the property records shows Bioresource still owns it, then ha ha, they own it...unless Detroit or MI has laws stating...that for instance, if a property owner doesn't pay taxes, the property goes to the govt entity. Bioresource may have been a leeetle too clever and litigious. Grafitti art is a gift to the universe because the artist doesn't own the canvas, but only the image.

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 6 years ago

    I would love to say that the gallery has the right of way, but getting permission from the foreman was not enough. The foreman doesn't own the building even if it is in a state of ruins. It's ironic how this story is playing out--Bioresource claiming ownership over the graffiti wall but not taking responsibility for the property. Also ironic is the very nature of graffiti with it's love/hate reactions from people. These two things are paralleling each other in a very interesting way!

  • simplyvintagefun

    simplyvintagefun said 6 years ago

    Hmmm... all very interesting. I think the wall should be conserved. The act of the art was probably illegal vandalism but perhaps it will spark someone to take responsibility and remove the dangerous eysore!

  • LeafandInk

    LeafandInk said 6 years ago

    We have spent some time reading all of your thoughts and opinions expressed here above. We have also spent time researching a this situation a bit deeper. What we love here at LeafandInk is exactly what is happening...DIALOG. It is important for us all to care enough about these issues to see the world change for better. In all the infinite galaxy we have yet to discover another planet that would house and sustain us as planet earth. We all need to do our part to transfer the greed of temporary $$$ fix to a permanent drive to protect our home, this beautiful place we call earth. http://leafandink.wordpress.com/

  • SaffronColoredPony

    SaffronColoredPony said 6 years ago

    Yeah, I'd say since Bioresource denies ownership It belongs to the City. As some else stated the City should sell it and use the monies specifically for cleanup. Whatever happened to doing the right thing? . I don't understand why it can't be approved as a Brownfield redevelopment site and cleaned up?. We're all gonna pay, one way or another. http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/sustain.htm

  • crankbunny

    crankbunny said 6 years ago

    Biosource gets the 25k piece of art once they finish paying for that 20 million dollar cleanup project.

  • JoBradney

    JoBradney said 6 years ago

    And why shouldn't Biosource have it? After all, it does celebrate the devestation and destruction they leave in their wake Irony is so delicious Thank you Banksy

  • MagnoliaFern

    MagnoliaFern said 6 years ago

    Biosource should get it all, if they claimed the wall then I agree with the city, and that's public declaration of ownership and responsiblity. Unfortunately the gallery does not have ownership of the wall simply because they wish to see it preserved. The foreman did not have the right to hand over ownership, and I imagine nothing was signed. I think the city should seize the wall and throw the Biosphere owners in jail for lying to the city and avoiding the costs of caring for their property.

  • vdojenn

    vdojenn said 6 years ago

    They had no interest in the wall before, but now that it's worth something they want it back.

  • aleiher

    aleiher said 6 years ago

    Give the wall to Bioresource, Inc. Then, they have to clean up their site. It's worth it to have them take responsibility and pay the penalty (plus, it's not really the gallery's in any way at all... I mean, the paint belongs to Banksy - but that's about it.).

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 6 years ago

    BioResource just admitted it was their wall... putting them in the position of having to clean up their 20 million dollar mess . BioResource they should auction the wall off, to help pay for the bill they will incur with the cleanup! Great artist! If Banksy had not have painted it... the Attention would never have shifted back to the company! It would have been a mess for years to come! If they are smart they will not distroy the wall ! it is now a piece of art that will be sought after due to the controversy !

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 6 years ago

    BioResource just admitted it was their wall... putting them in the position of having to clean up their 20 million dollar mess . BioResource they should auction the wall off, to help pay for the bill they will incur with the cleanup! Great artist! If Banksy had not have painted it... the Attention would never have shifted back to the company! It would have been a mess for years to come! If they are smart they will not distroy the wall ! it is now a piece of art that will be sought after due to the controversy ! there.... 2 cents given! :)

  • KittyLuvLuv

    KittyLuvLuv said 6 years ago

    I'm confused. According to your article, it states that "The image appears to have been created by famed English graffiti artist, Banksy", not that it actually is a Bansky. I think BioResource should keep it since they are a greedy and irresponsible company that is only out to keep a piece of debris only because of its "supposed" value. This way they will have to clean up the property in the interest of good will and environmental sustainability. And after they have the wall, Bansky himself can say "aha, that's really not mine!"

  • MissTanDesigns

    MissTanDesigns said 6 years ago

    I find this very interesting.

  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace said 6 years ago

    This is completely fascinating. Bravo to Banksy! (love his website!!) Shame on Bioresource for neglecting the property and refusing to own up to their responsibilities *UNTIL* they find out there was a Banksy piece created on the wall!? 555 Nonprofit Studio and Gallery should be able to keep the artwork (unless Banksy wants it back?) - and if it's ever sold, the proceeds should go to the city for community projects. It appears that the 555 group was likely trying to preserve the Banksy work - and that it wasn't motivated by unbridled greed. Unlike Bioresource.

  • SilverSkyHi

    SilverSkyHi said 6 years ago

    Bansky.

  • AnodynePress

    AnodynePress said 6 years ago

    If I were the judge, I would fine 555 $1.00 for trespassing, the artist $1.00 for defacing property, and Bioresource $3,000,000.00 for insulting my intelligence. And then order Bioresource to turn the space into a park, and when that was done order 555 to place the Bansky painting in the center of the park where all can see it for free. And unicorns would gambol happily in the grass, and a day would come when small children wouldn't even understand why the painting existed in the first place, or else would find it ironic, because there would be so many trees around.

  • strikebooks

    strikebooks said 6 years ago

    MAN OH MAN- both Gallery and Bioresource are greedy opportunistic mother f-ckers.. What a drag! From Shop good grace--- 555 group likely trying to preserve the Banksy work -- Man my gut hurts so bad this comment is insane!!!! You don't preserve Banksy or his work, thats the point! I need a beer! Do you think his work on the apartheid wall in the West Bank should also end up in a Museum in Tel AVIV? Now I need a Jameson's! MAN oh Man! Strike!

  • strikebooks

    strikebooks said 6 years ago

    pS I see folks are doing some pretty amazing organic faming projects in Detroit on ''Disputed property''. GO DETROIT! STRIKEBOOKS!

  • PurpleDeerVintage

    PurpleDeerVintage said 6 years ago

    They should save it!

  • liquidstar

    liquidstar said 6 years ago

    I say, in this case, good for Banksy, considering Bioresource would not even claim ownership of their mess; might as well create something meaningful out of the destruction. Besides, this wasn't just simple vandalism, but rather, it had a powerful message, which ultimately lead to a positive and powerful outcome. This is a great example of art at it's best. Once again, great job, Banksy! woohoo!

  • MeAndBoo

    MeAndBoo said 6 years ago

    I think it's hilarious that now Bioresource found out there is a moneymaking piece of art on their site, they lay claim to it!! I do think it would be nice to leave it on the site and build a park there - leaving it in some sort of original context. I don't think Banksy's work is meant for galleries, even though I love it and would love to see it preserved for the future.

  • TJToubeaux

    TJToubeaux said 6 years ago

    I'm agreeing with strikebooks...They are both being greedy, and money hungry. This whole crap about preserving his artwork is complete rot. Banksy isn't ignorant. He knows what he's doing when he creates his art. They had no business moving it. I was really excited when I heard Banksy had done these pieces. It just amazes me that he would bother to try to make our city beautiful:-) He makes art for the masses, and 555 should be ashamed! His art has thankfully drawn the city's attention to this eyesore. I hope they do something with it soon.

  • curlyfrysc

    curlyfrysc said 6 years ago

    I would say that it's Bioresource, Inc.'s wall and they are responsible for what happens to it. They could also sue 555...for destruction of property and theft of the wall and Banksy for vandalism.

  • thelittlepiper

    thelittlepiper said 6 years ago

    Maybe let the company keep the wall on the grounds that they clean up the mess, if they "own" it then its up to them to clean up their own mess. although if they "dont own" the mess in question then who does? the gallery has every right to take the wall if it was pretty much abandoned. Banksy is an inspiration but he also put his images on the berlin wall, doesnt mean the berlin wall is his. the image is his but the property he puts his images on is not. he chooses to make a statement with where he puts his images, thats all.

  • hollypaints

    hollypaints said 6 years ago

    The wall should belong to no one. True graffiti is not meant to be owned by galleries, corporate tycoons or even your local library. Its meant to catch a passer-by's eye and create or inspire change within someone or a community.

  • timeforteame

    timeforteame said 6 years ago

    Don't you find it interesting that Banksy's art - intended to be counter-culture - has wound up being so sought after by galleries and collectors that - in several instances such as this - whole sections of walls are chipped out and sold. And who benefits from the amazingly high sale prices? Is the artists permission ever sought? It gets me down to think that subversive art such as this winds up being appropriated by a third party (who incidentally is never the target audience)and sold for monetary gain. keep public art as public art!

  • monocotoleydon

    monocotoleydon said 6 years ago

    I believe if the company accepts ownership of the land, and thereby the responsibility to pay to have it cleaned up, then the Banksy is theirs as it's on their property. (In my opinion, owning art comes along with a moral responsibility to look after it, too.) They can keep it, move it, sell it or donate it as they see fit. But they can't have their cake and eat it too. If they "don't own" the land, then they don't own the art, either. I don't think the gallery has any particular right to the art - they got "permission" but not from anyone who had the right to give it. There is a temptation to bestow ownership on the gallery because we know they will treat art like art, and not like a derelict stone wall ... but unless given to them by someone who has the authority to do so, it's not a valid claim. If the art isn't on private property (aka, if the company doesn't want to claim ownership of the land) then I believe the art belongs to the city, which takes ownership on behalf of the people. This is what I would most like to see happen. If this is the case, I would like to see the art returned to its original location. As a piece of public commentary, removing it from its context robs it of some of its meaning. The best solution I can think of: the company admits ownership of the land, and pays to have it cleaned up, then sells the land (and the art) to the city. The land is turned into a park, preserving the art as they do so. It can all be trees again.

  • VibrantTrains

    VibrantTrains said 6 years ago

    I AM IN TOTAL AGREEMENT WITH monocotoleydon! I COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF! I am a lifelong resident of southeastern Michigan and I can say that there are an abundance of defunct factories, dilapidated homes, abandoned businesses and vacant parks abound within the city limits of Detroit that are in need of a paint job, cleaning or just plain tearing down. I welcome any and all improvements, big or small! Detroit was once a beautiful city with fantastic architecture, world famous parks, great shopping and fantastic residents. Unfortunately too much has happened to cause a mass exodus to the suburbs and surrounding states. Much of Detroit is virtually a ghost town. Good luck to all.

  • Joeysdreamgarden

    Joeysdreamgarden said 6 years ago

    I think it's clear that Bioresource Inc own the bit of wall as it's on their land, but it's a bit rich that they now want to claim it, now that Banksy has made it valuable. But as for preserving graffiti - it seems to defeat the artist's intention because if Banksy wanted to preserve his art then perhaps he'd have painted on canvas, not on a wall which is destined to be pulled down (or crumble of its own accord over the years). It's the transient nature of grafitti. But if the litigation action by Bioresource will mean they'll be forced to clean up the site, it's a good thing.

  • sakurabathandbody

    sakurabathandbody said 6 years ago

    The wall either belongs to the City or to Bioresource. If the city can successfully argue that Bioresource claimed ownership of the land when claiming ownership of the wall, then Bioresource should be able to keep it. As a result, they should also have to pay for the clean-up of the site. Unfortunately, I would venture that Bioresource will back out of ownership claims if they will have to pay for the clean-up and they may be able to do that legally. Then it goes back to the city and unfortunately, they will not have the funds to clean up the site even if they sold the art. The gallery should not have ownership of the wall and they are just as greedy as Bioresource. They knew exactly what they were doing when the asked a foreman instead of the actual owners or the city. After all is said and done, I do hope the area is cleaned up. It is a shame to see the city in such disrepair.

  • ElizabethPawle

    ElizabethPawle said 6 years ago

    Really interesting article. I would imagine that bioresource would only be able to claim the mural if they own the land it was on, therefore they are responsible for sorting the site out.

  • QuietStorytellers

    QuietStorytellers said 6 years ago

    Etsy asked, “Who has the rights to the wall?” You (me) be the judge: Bioresource, obviously. That’s the whole point. They believe it to be their (now-coveted) wall and if no one disputes that, they lose any claim to not owning the derelict property, thus making all clean-up costs Bioresource’s responsibility. Now the dream: since a chagrined Bioresource (one 555 Gallery suing lawyer less) has cleaned up the space, Detroit now works with a changed and environmentally friendly Bioresource to create healthy jobs for all who need it. The graffiti artist disappears because everyone everywhere has become ethical so there is no more need to impart opinions on someone else’s doorstep and the graffiti disappears (it is no longer needed socially) and becomes an urban legend.

  • HeartRhythmDrums

    HeartRhythmDrums said 6 years ago

    The land owner legally has rights to the piece, but the article says they were going to tear it down anyway. My question is, why are they causing such a fuss in the first place. I'm not sure, it's probably not right to take the wall from someone's land but really people, it's just an old brick wall that Banksy turned in to something beautiful. Let love live.

  • gertuine

    gertuine said 6 years ago

    I agree with those who have noted that Bioresource is patently admitting ownership of the plant (and thus responsibility for demolishing it and cleaning up the site). And I think that 555 gallery (Gallery 555? whoops) should argue in court that they are better equipped/prepared to ensure that the work of art is in good condition and perhaps use those arguments to posit that the art remain in the care of 555 _at least until the rightful owner can be determined_. Then, I think that lawsuit should be put on hold until Bioresource's lawsuit(s) with the city of Detroit can be settled re: the ownership of the factory. (or perhaps they'd have to settle the Bioresource v. 555 suit first?) Once it is determined who really owns the property, then the arguments as to whether the foreman had the right to release the wall, and whether 555 should be able to keep the wall (at least in terms of taking care of it) can be made, and a suitable resolution can be found. this reminds me of the situations which occur when countries petition each other to have artifacts which originated in their country be returned to them (such as if Egypt petitioned an American/French/British/wherever museum to say, "please return the artifacts you have which are of Egyptian origin"). In such a case, what is to be done? It's a tough matter to decide, and certainly the museums have a great stake in their possessions, and no doubt take care of them well in order to attract visitors to see the artifacts, etc. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

  • winteryvisions

    winteryvisions said 6 years ago

    Interesting article. Can't believe Bioresource walked into that one! Here's to hoping 555 can keep it.

  • Lelikat

    Lelikat said 6 years ago

    Pow! Art with power ...I love it!

  • WanderingLydia

    WanderingLydia said 6 years ago

    Can't wait to see how this turns out, though it could drag on for quite a while. I don't see how Bioresource can have it both ways.

  • Heartistics

    Heartistics said 6 years ago

    SOLD for ~$20,000,000 to Bioresource, Inc! Open mouth, insert foot . . . shove it in up to the knee! ROTFLMAO!

  • TanyaMac

    TanyaMac said 6 years ago

    The wall should have been left where it was, meaning something and making a statement.

  • AndisAccessories

    AndisAccessories said 6 years ago

    Interesting, if gallery keeps the wall...what happens to the site? If they return the wall...where does it go...so many possibilities...I am interested to see what happens...

  • ipson

    ipson said 6 years ago

    I am pround of yr effords to our enviornment!

  • Laurenry

    Laurenry said 6 years ago

    I love Banksy! I think it's great the gallery saved the wall, and it's wonderful that Bioresource now needs to pay up!

  • seesong

    seesong said 6 years ago

    There are two separate issues here. One, the ownership of the wall. Two, the rights to the image Banksy created. If Bioresource is claiming the ownership of the wall, it should also be responsible for the clean-up. If it is decided Bioresource is a rightful owner of the property and therefore the owner of the wall, Bioresource should either press charge Banksy for vandalizing the wall, its property or compensate the artist for his work(which Bioresource claims to be the owner). Bioresource cannot claim the ownership and the rights of the image without acknowledging it has received some kind of service from the artist. Sorry 555, you have no claim on the art work. If the artist intended the art works to be preserved in a gallery setting, he would not have chosen graffiti as his medium. 555 NSG's intention to preserve the graffiti has no merit without explicit request of the artist. If 555 NSG removes the wall from its original place, the art work is no longer a site specific, thus changing the original intention of the work.

  • DesigningImpressions

    DesigningImpressions said 6 years ago

    I have to agree with seesong on this one. Bioresource's claim to the art means that the art was done on their property. 555 does not own the art unless an agreement between them and Bioresource is made. Now as far as the property. Bioresource has stepped into "it" bigtime and now they have to deal with the repurcussions. But, if it goes as it always seem to with businesses with deep pockets, they'll delay a court decision until you have to consider the worth of continued prosecution? In other words, the court process is going to cost the city and it's taxpayers. Unfortunately, it might make better business sense for the gov't to claim the land and clean it up themselves. The seriously sad part of this is that it's Detroit. The exodus of taxpayers and the abandoned homes have already placed the city on a precipice that it might not recover from.

  • DayzeeLove

    DayzeeLove said 6 years ago

    I hope 555 can get to keep it. Bioresource would never have know it was there or it's value as they had irresponsibly abandoned the site. I think this is a clever way to get them to take responsibility for the demolition and cleanup of the site.

  • editionbw

    editionbw said 6 years ago

    I trust the Gallery knew that this act would provoke a final outcome as to the ownership of the property with their own rescue/theft of the work. Bioresource will definitely be firing someone at their office for claiming ownership of this piece of work. It places them in the property's ownership seat. They likely wanted to extend this abandonment in the hopes that land value would return for future development. The artwork should be auctioned to help a worthy Detroit cause. The gallery should only be remunerated for their expenses.

  • AndrewGableArtist

    AndrewGableArtist said 6 years ago

    thanks for sharing

  • Ingamae

    Ingamae said 5 years ago

    Whoever owns the plant is the owner of the wall. Presumably Bioresource. However because someone from Bioresource told them they could have the wall then the gallery gets to keep it. the end. As far as the clean up of the site I think the city should step up as a leader and front the bill and clean the thing up. the end.

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