If you are a follower of Banksy, you’ll want to make your way into the District, where the largest Banksy exhibit in existence opened this week. The Art of Banksy is a touring exhibition of works by the artist, loaned to the exhibition by private collectors. The DC exhibition will show over 100 original Banksy works at Gallery Place in Chinatown, including iconic works such as “Girl and Balloon.”
Banksy is a street artist who has been active since the early 1990s, his identity shrouded by his pseudonym to this day. His work comments on culture and politics and is often viewed as a form of political and social activism. The artist is considered controversial, both for his political messages and for the placement of his street art, which some public officials have called vandalism. However, it’s undeniable that Banksy may be among the most famous artists living today.
All the works in The Art of Banksy show have been certified by Pest Control, the body authorized to authenticate Banksy’s art. This means all of the pieces in the exhibition are real Banksy works, not reproductions. However, the show itself has not been authorized by Banksy.
On Banksy’s website, he warns members of the public about unauthorized exhibitions of his work, “none of which are consensual.” Banksy called The Art of Banksy exhibitions “fake” and tells members of the public to “treat them accordingly.” Is Banksy telling members of the public to avoid these exhibitions? Maybe not explicitly, but it seems pretty clear that the artist is not a fan.
Those who run the unauthorized exhibitions say they do so because they believe Banksy’s art should be shared with the public. Tickets to see The Art of Banksy Exhibition run from $34.99 for a child’s ticket to $99.99 for a “VIP” ticket. Standard admission for adults is $44.99 during peak times and $34.99 in off-peak times.
Banksy enthusiasts may be eager to view some of his works in person for the first time. This exhibition provides a rare opportunity to do so, albeit for a price. Visitors might want to keep in mind that the artist himself opposes unauthorized shows. In the words of Banksy’s team: “They are nothing like a genuine Banksy show.”
Feature image by Kyle Flubacker
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