For those of you who haven’t heard, world-renowned street artist Banksy has arrived Stateside from across the pond and taken up residence in the Big Apple. While Mayor Bloomberg has been tirelessly trying to shutdown the artist—because, you know, he hates fun—many have welcomed the anonymous artist for sprucing up the city a bit.
While bumper car grim reapers and trucks of stuffed animals are all pretty amazing, his “The Banality of the Banality of Evil” is extraordinary not in what it is as an art object—he painted a Nazi onto a so-so landscape—but in how it’s been received. The artist bought the landscape from Housing Works, a non-profit fighting both AIDS and homelessness, for $50 and then painted a Nazi staring off into the distance, signed his name, and then returned the painting. Housing Works put the Banksy original up for auction at $74,000 and the bid at the time of writing is at $310,400. The title comes from the title of Hannah Arendt’s collected articles about the Adolf Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.