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On the Cover: May 2021

Legal editor Anna Sulkin discusses this month's cover.

Girl With Ice Cream on Palette by Banksy sold for $1.5 million at Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art auction on March 24, 2021 in London. One of the most well-known and iconic artists of our time, Banksy rose to prominence as a street artist in Bristol, England. Unlike most graffiti artists, he paints in a unique stenciling style and often uses his art as a vehicle to convey thought-provoking messages on current cultural affairs. His anti-establishment and politically themed works are immediately recognizable and have popped up all over the globe, even in some of the most controversial places like the West Bank. Instead of being viewed as vandalism, his pieces are sought after on the high-end art market.

In 2018, Banksy made headlines for a painting that shredded itself at auction as soon as it was sold, much to the awe of everyone present. His dark humor is also visible in Girl With the Ice Cream on Palette, with what would be an otherwise innocent image of a young girl holding an ice cream cone if not for the dynamite sticking out of it.

Despite all the attention his works command, the artist chooses to remain anonymous. Because of this desire, Banksy has had some trouble protecting his works from unauthorized exhibitions and reproductions, as copyright would require him to disclose his true identity. Last year, the European Union’s intellectual property office canceled Banksy’s trademark for one of his works, titled Flower Bomber, for being filed in bad faith.

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