Dealers behind controversial 'buy a Banksy' exhibition announce plans for first 'street art' museum

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The art dealers who tried to stage a controversial auction of Banksy’s murals have announced plans to establish a museum devoted to street art inside a disused London Underground station.

The Sincura Group said it was in talks to convert a derelict station into the world first street art museum, which would stage rolling exhibitions of works including murals by Banksy.

The artist himself, however, has described Sincura’s exhibition of his pieces, removed from walls around the country, as “disgusting”.

An online auction of Banksy’s work, expected to raise £2 million, was dropped.

But Sincura, which removes and sells Banksy murals from their original locations on commission, claimed that the exhibition was actually designed to gauge public opinion for the creation of a potential museum and that no sale had been planned.

According to The Art Newspaper, the murals may still be up for sale - with the proviso that they are temporarily loaned to the street art museum once it opens. “I wouldn’t say the auction is necessarily off the table,” said Ajit Chambers, the founder of The Old London Underground firm, which leases out disused Tube stations. Chambers is hoping to provide a subterranean space for the museum.

The proposed museum would be funded from ticket sales. Lee Bofkin, co-founder of online archive Global Street Art, was identified as a possible curator for the museum.

Bofkin believes the “time is ripe” for a museum dedicated to street art. He said: “How it is going to be realised is going to be a real challenge, but the notion of a street art museum is solid.”

Joe Epstein, who runs the LDN Graffiti blog and designed the unofficial newspaper, The Banksy Bugle, that accompanied Sincura’s exhibition told The Art Newspaper: “Perhaps a street art museum is a much better outcome than the art being stuffed away by some rich geezer.”

However the Mana Museum of Urban Arts, which begins construction in New Jersey in June, may yet seize the title of the world’s first street art museum.