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Bad Meaning Good, 2002



Bad Meaning Good, 2002
Acrylic and spray-paint on canvas
40.9 x 40.6 cm (16 1/8 x 15 7/8 inches)
Edition of 4
Stenciled with the artist’s name on the overturn edge
Signed and numbered /4 on the reverse
Sotheby’s London: 26 March 2021
GBP 277,200 / USD 382,000
Prior Auction Results
Sotheby’s London: 9 March 2017
GBP 93,750
Between 2002 and 2003, Banksy designed four album covers for the Bad Meaning Good music compilations. Created from tracks chosen by different artists and recorded on CD and vinyl, these compilations range from electronic and hip-hop, to jazz, rock, funk and reggae.
The present work is taken from the Bad Meaning Good Volume 1 album and presents tracks selected by Skitz. This album cover features a large orange X in the background and a stenciled monochromatic black and white machine gun over the top. The machine gun wears large, oversized sneakers, which undermines the sinister and violent iconography of the image, emphasizing Banksy’s inherently satirical style.
The other three album covers which make up the Bad Meaning Good collection also feature large X’s and various other symbols of control and authority which have been subtly reworked in a typical Banksy-esque fashion. Despite having often stated that he turns down nearly all commercial commissions, Banksy has collaborated with numerous artists on their album covers. Among them were six album covers for One Cut in 1998, four covers for Blak Twang in 2002, and six covers for rock legends Blur in 2003. The most famous of which is Blur’s seventh studio album released in May 2003 called Think Tank which features a couple wearing aqualungs and kissing.

“I’ve done a few things to pay the bills, and I did the Blur album. It was a good record and [the commission was] quite a lot of money. I think that’s a really important distinction to make. If it’s something you actually believe in, doing something commercial doesn’t turn it to shit just because it’s commercial. Otherwise you’ve got to be a socialist rejecting capitalism altogether, because the idea that you can marry a quality product with a quality visual and be a part of that even though it’s capitalistic is sometimes a contradiction you can’t live with. But sometimes it’s pretty symbiotic, like the Blur situation.”

The covers bear symbols of control or authority, that have been subtly twisted by the artist in order to poke fun at the state. The machine gun presented in Bad Meaning Good Volume 1 is painted with a huge pair of shoes, reminiscent of clown shoes as if this weapon was a joke or a fake.