Dec. 1 – Feb. 28
Noon to 10 p.m. daily at Magic City Studios
6301 NE Fourth Ave., Miami.
Tickets can be purchased at www.banksyexhibit.com.
Unauthorized is key here. Bansky never gave his permission to showcase any of the eighty, original works on view at this blockbuster-size exhibition.
Curated by Bansky’s former manager of 12 years, Steve Lazarides, and co-produced by the promoters behind Live Nation and Starvox Exhibits, “The Art of Banksy,” opened at Miami’s Magic City studios on Dec. 1 to much fanfare. It is a highly controversial exhibition because of its unauthorized nature (very Bansky) and costly admission fee (very un-Bansky). The artist notoriously does not approve of charging viewers anything more than a nominal admission to see his work. To placate the ire of the most contentious street artist in the world, the organizers of “The Art of Banksy” pledged to donate 50,000 free tickets to at-risk-youth and charities and to not sell any of the artworks on view. The grandiose yet carefully curated show is valued at $35 million and is set to be the largest ever exhibition of Banksy’s work featuring all his iconic pieces, like “Laugh Now”, “Girl with Balloon”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Flower Thrower”, “Monkey Queen”, “Flag Wall”, “Soup Can” and many more.
Hauling from Bristol, England, provocateur and prankster supreme, Banksy is a graffiti master, painter, activist, filmmaker and is world renowned for his irreverent wit and an international reputation that precedes his anonymous identity. Often photographed hidden behind a paper bag that conceal his features, Banksy tenaciously controls his own narrative, even after over 20 years of being involved with the graffiti scene.
Cheeky and clever, Banksy has gained his notoriety through a range of urban interventions, from modifying street signs and printing his own currency to illegally hanging his own works in institutions such as the Louvre and the Museum of Modern Art. Most often using spray paint and stencils, Banksy has crafted a signature, immediately identifiable graphic style—and a recurring cast of cops, soldiers, children, and celebrities—through which he critically examines contemporary issues of consumerism, political authority, terrorism, and the status of art and its display.
His profound disdain for the art establishment and its unbridled greed was highlighted again when a canvas of “The ‘Balloon Girl’, auctioned off for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s in early October, shredded in front of a live audience (when the winning bid came down, an alarm sounded and the painting slid halfway through an automatic shredder that the artist had surreptitiously built into the frame apparently 10 years earlier). The European collector who won the bid decided to keep the artwork which has been since “re-authenticated” and re-christened by Banksy, Love Is in the Bin (2018). Sotheby’s now calls it “the first work in history ever created during a live auction.” The seemingly destructive act may have, in fact, increased the value of the work significantly.
But meanwhile, back at Art Basel Miami Beach—where more private jets land than for a Superbowl—we’re left to wonder if the prankster, with this unauthorized show, had finally been pranked himself? Or, are we suckers to really believe Banksy wasn’t behind it —as we exited with a fifty-dollar ‘gift’ stub in our pockets?
Bansky’s Drops of Wisdom:
“There is no such thing as good publicity” – Bansky
“I don’t know why people are so keen to put the details of their private life in public; they forget that invisibility is a superpower” – Bansky
“Become goo at cheating and you never need to become good at anything else” – Bansky
“There is nothing more dangerous than someone who wants to make the world a better place” – Bansky
Bansky, “Forgive Our Trespassing”, 2010, spray paint and acrylic on wood on four panels, 655.3 x 421.3 cm
Bansky, “Have A Nice Day”, 2002, Screenprint on paper, 30 X 100 cm
Bansky, “Flag Wall”, a comment on the American Dream detail)
Bansky, “Grannies”, 2006,,screenprint on paper, 57.5 X 77 cm