The Art of Banksy

Banksy’s works pop up in all sorts of places, but seeing them is often a challenge. For his devotees or just the curious, The Art of Banksy overcomes this problem for those who can make it to the gallery at 50 Earlham Road, Covent Garden, that is currently booking till May 2022. There you can enjoy the experience of immersing yourself in Banksy.

Enjoy the experience of immersing yourself in Banksy

The exhibition is made possible by loans from private owners enabling the world’s largest collection of over 90 authenticated Banksy works to be put on show in a cavernous basement venue that perfectly fits the bill. The walls are black, as are the floors, except for exposed patches where the paint has worn off. Tightly focussed lighting highlights each work in contrast to its surround and maximum use is made of the extensive space for each work to have its area.

The exhibition is a display of how Banksy’s famous public works that often appeared overnight on walls have been integrated into a repertoire of prints, canvasses, screen prints, unique works and limited-edition pieces which are mainly dated from 1997 to 2008, a period in which he produced some of his most outstanding works. In addition, witty, subversive and critical quotations from the artist adorn the walls and at various points it's also possible to watch exclusive video interviews with Banksy’s former printer, that provide insights and historical background. We’re reminded that “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” and that “If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model”.

The display is both chronological and thematic, the latter arrangement showing various interpretations of the same subject matter.There are also explanations and examples of processes involving inks and proofs and some of the most famous works are represented including Girl with a Balloon, Rude Copper, the Turf War portrait of Winston Churchill and his largest work that became part of the controversy surrounding Exit Through the Gift Shop. To help with viewing there is an audio set with further information on some of the pieces.

The exhibition comes with a warning that “the Art of Banksy is not authorised or curated in collaboration with the elusive man himself”. That perhaps is to be expected. More surprise has been expressed at the cost of the tickets; the irony, of course, being that this is the very sort of capitalist endeavour, complete with souvenir shop, that Banksy would rail against.

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Reviews by Richard Beck

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★★★★★
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The Art of Banksy

★★★★★
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★★★
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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

With over 90 authenticated Banksy pieces gathered from private collections across the globe The Art of Banksy is the world’s largest collection of original privately owned works by the artist, now exhibited in a 12,000 sq. ft gallery in theheart of Covent Garden. Pieces include prints, canvasses, screen prints, unique works and limited-edition pieces mainly dated between the years 1997 to 2008, the period whichresulted in Banksy’s most recognisable and well-known works. It includes iconic favourites such as Girl with a Balloon and Rude Copper alongside Brace Yourself.An unmissable new addition to the exhibition for the season extension is the installation of six video screens showing a series of exclusive interviews with Banksy’s former printer. 

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