One of the most anticipated art events of the summer is finally here.
The Art of Banksy has arrived in Toronto in all of its graffiti-filled glory and – appropriately – is already making its rounds on social media.
Curated by Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s former agent, the $35 million-dollar exhibit features 80 original works by Banksy, making it the world’s largest display of his work ever exhibited. It features sculptures, prints, canvasses, and multimedia pieces from the secretive graffiti artist – one of the most talked-about artists of modern history.
The exhibition features pieces like the iconic “Balloon Girl” – ranked in 2017 as “The United Kingdom’s number one favourite artwork” – in addition to “Flag Wall,” an urbanized take on the famous picture of soldiers raising the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima.
Other notable talking points include the controversial and witty work “Laugh Now” – a graffiti piece that depicts a monkey with a sign hanging from his neck with the words: “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge” (a sentiment, dare I say, that rings particularly true in today’s political climate). Also noteworthy is a stencil on a garage door shutter.
Not surprisingly, the exhibit is a hot ticket and extended hours have been announced thanks to overwhelming demand. More than 50,000 tickets initially sold for its month-long run. As much as it is a hot ticket, it’s also a controversial one. Critics have pointed out that the unauthorized exhibit has nothing to do with Banksy himself, who has disowned the show and slammed it for its lack of representation of he and his work.
Once the exhibit wraps, the artwork will be returned to 40 different private art collectors around the world, including three from a former Toronto resident who now lives in Hong Kong. Of course, this means that the odds of ever seeing them displayed together again are slim.