Banksy Agent: Riviera South Beach Hotel Tiles Are "Fake and Not by the Artist Banksy"

Categories: Art

BANSKYTiling_RivieraSouthBeach_mirrorview.JPG
Courtesy of the South Beach Group
Earlier this week, New Times reported that the newly opened Riviera South Beach Hotel claimed to have commissioned street artist Banksy to design tiles that were placed around the hotel, in public areas such as its bathrooms.

When a reader tipped us off to an similar-looking line of tiles sold by Spanish company Peronda, named "Bansky" but otherwise unrelated to the famous British graffiti artist, we once again asked hotel representatives for an explanation. (Hotel owner Nathan Lieberman did not respond to requests for comment for our original story.) In response, Alan Lieberman, owner and president of the South Beach Group Hotels, which operates the Riviera South Beach, maintained the tiles were designed by Banksy and purchased through a Banksy agent.

But that's not true, according to Banksy's publicist, Jo Brooks. In an email to New Times sent Thursday, Brooks writes, "I can confirm that the tiles you mentioned are fake and not by the artist Banksy."

See also: Banksy in Miami: New South Beach Hotel Claims It Commissioned The Artist To Create Bathroom Tiles

Banksy is a notoriously elusive figure, known as much for his anonymity as for his art. The artist typically refuses to verify his own work, though fans generally assume art posted to Banksy's website, banksyny.com, is the real deal. Brooks represents several other British artists; she also facilitated Banksy's exclusive interview with New Times' sister paper the Village Voice earlier this month.

In that interview, Banksy told the Voice that "commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist." So the artist agreeing to produce commissioned work for a hotel or an interior design company seems unlikely.

But in an email statement sent to New Times Wednesday night, before Banksy's publicist weighed in, Alan Lieberman seemed certain the tiles in the Riviera were the real deal:

Banksy was commissioned to do a series of different large tiles. There are a dozen different graffiti drawings of his most familiar and popular work. I was aware of his art being made available and contacted his agent and then placed the tiles throughout the new Riviera South Beach Hotel building's common areas.

Neither of the Liebermans, nor anyone else affiliated with the hotel, has commented on the record about Brooks' denial. (A representative of the hotel said both Alan and Nathan Lieberman are traveling abroad with limited ability to correspond.)

But late Thursday, Alan Lieberman sent a series of emails to New Times. One simply said, "Sending info on bansky [sic] tiles." The following email, sent two minutes later, included solely a link to a short article about the Peronda tiles by the design publication Interiors & Sources. The description states, "The Banksy series from Peronda takes its inspiration from the grunge scene, channeling street art from New York and inspirational artists like Banksy."

Lieberman did not respond to follow-up questions yesterday.

BanksyRiviera_bathroomviewjpg.jpg
Courtesy of the South Beach Group
Carolina del Busto contributed to this report.

UPDATE: We've received a new statement from Alan Lieberman via email:

Banksy was commissioned by Peronda, one of the largest tile companies in the world from Spain, to use his artwork for a collection of tiles that are called "The Banksy Series." These commissioned tiles, featuring Banksy's designs, were purchased from Peronda for our installation at the newly opened Riviera South Beach Hotel.

The email also includes a link to these tiles at the Peronda website, which are named "Bansky," a misspelling of Banksy's name.

But Eric Garcia, a representative at Peronda reached by phone this morning, told New Times that Peronda has no affiliation with Banksy. "They are inspired, this is true. But we don't have any incorporation with him," he said. "That's why we call [the tiles] 'Bansky,' not 'Banksy.'"

Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.

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9 comments
icculus17
icculus17 topcommenter

Bankysy would never do any art for a freakin hotel, that shows how little they know about art

northbeach069
northbeach069

"Alan and Nathan Lieberman are both travelling abroad..."  In other words they went to the United States for a few days?

0ablip1
0ablip1

Not the first time the Lieberman's have proved to be jackasses. I've worked at their hotels...In the time that I worked there I saw "interns" from Korea, who were supposed to be learning hospitality management -used as maids... I've seen servers at their restaurants who have no green cards and were not paid except for their tips, minus 10% bar and another 10% for the bus boy.  at one point half the staff at Maxine's were Israelis on vacation visas with no work permits. When I left I nearly had to sue them for 180 hr in back over time pay that they never put on my check. Routinely they would force people to work off the clock, or would fail to include overtime on the paycheck. 

Nathan used to throw "model parties" where 15-20 "models" would take up the patio, eat free and not tip. All for show ... did not increase business 1 bit. He even gave them card saying "we think beautiful people should eat for free"  so they could come back and abuse our services any time they like.  Both Alan and Nathan like to strut around as playboys and pick up women walking by  "come, check out my hotel... have you seen the pool on the roof?" ... I don't know how many times i heard that line. 

I hope they paid top dollar for these "inspired" works of crap. 

cubronx
cubronx

Riviera South Beach is a classic example of what a bandwagon art fan looks like. Instead of being intelligent and commissioning art work by a local artist to show support for the local art community they opted to be "cool" and got ripped off while looking like complete suckers at the same time. It's really upsetting that they didn't choose an unknown local name but then again that would have required some sort of knowledge of the art world.

sunpaper
sunpaper

The lieberman knew that the tiles were not real....remember they are the morons who sold out to reality show producers for numerous stupid reality shows at their properties.  They should be continued to be called out for their arrogance.

internetinternet
internetinternet

Tiles don't look like anything like what Bansksy produces.  Which is one reason the tile company haven't been sued.  South Beach has some really dumb people.  Which explains a lot about the city.  

Tony Miller
Tony Miller

Would have been better to commission local talent. As a bonus then you wouldn't end up looking like a douche who doesn't know what he's talking about. I have some great lois vottun handbags I'll sell him.

thtatguyusa
thtatguyusa

wow what a joke.  Sounds like the tiles are inspired by Banksy but not created by...what a lame decision for hotel decorating anyways...

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