Preview: “Banksy: The Unauthorized Retrospective” at Sotheby’s

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Banksy began his career by taking up wall space without permission for his street art. But his work has become so financially successful that established art institutions, ironically enough, have scrambled to become part of the Banksy mythology regardless of the artist’s consent. Following the recent, controversial “Stealing Banksy” show, where Banksy’s street art pieces mysterious appeared in a gallery setting, carved from the walls on which they originally appeared, London auction house and gallery Sotheby’s is slated to open “Banksy: The Unauthorized Retrospective” on June 11.

Curated by Banksy’s former associate Steve Lazarides of Lazarides Gallery and The Outsiders fame, the exhibition will feature some of Banksy’s most famous works from the past decade as well as never-before-seen pieces like “Banksus Militus Vandalus,” a taxidermy sculpture illegally installed in a natural history museum in 2004. With 70 total works culled from private collections, the retrospective is the largest showing of Banksy work to date.

The famously anonymous artist seems to have a love-hate relationship with being in the public eye. The hype surrounding his work has allowed him to garner attention for his political and social commentary. Yet as Lazarides speculated in an interview with the Associated Press, Banksy would hate this exhibition — but that’s part of the fun, he added. The gallerist, who sprayed Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery’s walls red with a fire extinguisher to make the stenciled pieces feel more at home, seems to relish the irony of exhibiting (and reselling) Banksy’s work without his permission. On view through July 25, the retrospective will give Banksy fans a chance to view these rare, much talked-about works in a strange collision of worlds — from the street to the high-end auction house.

Rex Features/AP Images


Rex Features/AP Images


Rex Features/AP Images


Rex Features/AP Images


Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Comments are closed.