An unauthorised – and somewhat controversial – retrospective of the work of feted British street artist Banksy lands in Sydney this September.
The Art of Banksy, put together by the anonymous artist’s former manager Steve Lazarides, toured to Melbourne in late 2016. Many were disappointed by Lazarides’ decision to, well, house subversive street art in a gallery and charge money for it.
Local street artist Adnate even painted a version of Caravaggio‘s ‘The Taking of Christ‘ at the Melbourne site, with Lazarides as Judas and Banksy in a monkey mask as Jesus.
The world’s largest touring exhibition of Banksy artwork – 80 original canvas, screenprint and sculptural works in all – also toured to Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Auckland, Toronto and Miami.
It includes some of his most recognisable art, like ‘Flower Thrower‘, ‘Rude Copper‘ and ‘Girl with Balloon‘, from the years 1997 to 2008, the point at which the pair parted ways for some unexplained reason.
Lazarides also supplied items from his personal archive and photographs in order to offer a BTS insight into Banksy’s practice.
Banksy visited Australia back in 2003, producing work in Melbourne and in Sydney – including a ‘Diver‘ stencil at Newtown food co-op Alfalfa House that has since been defaced and painted over.
In August last year, Banksy made a comment about another unauthorised exhibition of his work by posting a text message exchange to Instagram. In it, a friend points out the existence of a $35 exhibition Banksy: Genius Or Vandal? in Moscow.
Banksy wrote, “You know it’s got nothing to do with me right? I don’t charge people to see my art unless there’s a fairground wheel.“
He then noted it’d be odd to release a presser dismissing the exhibition, “not sure I’m the best person to complain about people putting up pictures without getting permission“.
In approved Banksy news, last year the artist auto-shredded one of his artworks after it sold at auction for a cool $1.8 million. There was a shredder hidden in the frame of the copy of his 2002 artwork ‘Girl with Balloon’.
This year, he made a “customised stab-proof vest“, which he gifted grime artist Stormzy for Glastonbury.
The Art of Banksy runs from 13 September at the Entertainment Quarter. Sign up for the waitlist if you fancy dropping $40 HERE.Image: Getty Images / Jesus Merida Luque