A large-scale exhibition of Banksy’s work will fill a Melbourne car park next month, with 80 stenciling works, multiple screen prints and three never before seen artifacts that have been selectively kept out of the public eye. This will be one of the most distinctive art events to hit Australian shores in 2016 and is rumored to showcase the many directions of the mysterious street artist. Combining works with some of the biggest contemporary studio artists of our generation, the exhibition is set to run every day between October 7th and January 22nd 2017, located at The Paddock in Federation Square and will include iconic pieces Girl with Balloon, Flag Wall and Laugh Now.
Curated by Steve Lazarides, the famously anonymous former manager of Banksy, the works come from his own collection, together with other private collectors. While every piece is original, unique and authentic, Steve Lazarides proudly boasts that the entire show is completely unauthorised. No, Banksy hasn’t signed off on the event –– in fact, I don’t think he’d be too happy about it.
While the event itself has been celebrated to mimic the streets of London, the exhibition will take visitors on an artistic adventure and not see a dollar reside to the original artist. Yes, Melbournians, we hear you – “Banksy sold his work to them, so what’s the big deal?” –but this will be something different altogether: to create an exhibition pinned to explore and gain from his work without permission is incredibly ironic and awful, even for a street artist. How do we justify experiencing an artists’ work without their permission?
The shining light, however, will be the event playing host to food trucks, craft beer and cocktails, and live DJ sessions on Fridays and Saturdays; spotlighting Melbourne’s own vibrant street art scene during the show. With works by established and emerging local street artists including Adnate, Bailer, Heesco, Makatron and Ruskidd; the event will be a fantastic opportunity for locals to forefront their talent and skills often missed in the mainstream art market. Indeed, while it is an unauthorized art exhibition, it’s hard to articulate how strange it feels to be supporting so many artists and then disadvantaging the one who made it happen.