Sorry The Lifestyle You Ordered is Currently Out of Stock, 2012
Spray-paint on found canvas on graffed board, in artist’s frame
106.7 x 166.4 cm (42 x 65 1/2 inches)
Signed ‘BANKSY’ lower right; signed and dated ‘BANKSY 12’ on the reverse
Phillips London: 14 October 2022
Estimated GBP 1,500,000 – 2,000,000
This original was published by Banksy on his Instagram account in 2012.
Audacious and provocative, in Sorry The Lifestyle You Ordered Is Currently Out Of Stock guerrilla street artist Banksy collapses high culture and street art, applying the pointed satire of his site-specific graffiti to a direct critique of the connections between the art market, consumer capitalism, and environmental issues. Set within a heavy gilt frame evoking museum walls and Old Master paintings, the work is composed of an appropriated canvas featuring a romantic mountain landscape, defaced with the slogan ‘Sorry The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock’ and attached to a densely spraypainted board behind. Uniting these different elements within the work Banksy forges unexpected dialogues between them, communicating his message with characteristic economy and wit.
In it’s a clever combination of humour, appropriation, and the pointed conflation of so-called high and low art forms, Sorry The Lifestyle You Ordered Is Currently Out Of Stock follows in the disruptive mode of Situationist artists such as Asger Jorn. Appropriating reproductions of well-known paintings and the canvases of amateur artists, Jorn applied thick, gestural marks and compositional additions, altering the meaning communicated by the original work in the process. Following Jorn, Banksy’s recontextualization of these older canvases serves to emphasise that ‘the meaning of old fashioned paintings had not yet been exhausted but could be renewed by means of new and unexpected pictorial inserts.’ii
Borrowing the vocabulary of advertising and consumerism to identify the hypocrisy involved in promoting a discourse of England as a ‘green and pleasant land’ while allowing profit-seeking enterprises to simultaneously dismantle that landscape, the work is a product of what Gianni Mercurio has described as Banksy’s mode of ‘brandalism’: ‘a rebellion against the great corporations that manage our lives, our forms of consumption, even the space in which we live, through choices that are exclusively aimed at making profit.’iii
First appearing in a large-scale stencilled work on the side of an empty building on the corner of East India Dock Road in London’s East End in 2011, the text ‘Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock’ playfully wraps political commentary in the familiar language of commodity consumption. Although simple, the interaction of the message with its location made a powerfully pointed statement about gentrification in the East End, and the wild property speculation that followed the closure of the docks in the early 1980s. Littered with estate agent boards, the abandoned building appears to have been a casualty of this aggressive growth, stalled when the 2008 financial crisis started to bite.
Ironically invoking slogans associated with our own consumer experience, Banksy shifts our focus out to a more global level, using the familiar to open our eyes to global inequalities and existing power structures that operate in the background of our day to day lives. Having applied it in a critique of the economic forces and social inequalities played out in urban space, Banksy quickly adopted the slogan in a sharp critique of the art world, most pointedly in his 2013-14 collaboration with fellow Bristol-born artist Damien Hirst, defacing an immediately recognizable Spot Painting with grey spray paint and overlaid with the same white text we see in the present work. While this work played very deliberately with Hirst’s reputation as representative of the market forces driving contemporary art to record prices, Sorry The Lifestyle You Ordered Is Currently Out Of Stock returned to an earlier conflation of art, the environment, and the ethics of late capitalism that Banksy first deployed in his infamous 2005 Crude Oils exhibition.