Banksy has come to Toronto. Or should I say his ex agent has bought some of Banksy’s work together here to Toronto. The exhibit curated by Steve Lazarides has everyone talking as the graffiti artist himself has not authorized the show. I went to see the show at the huge warehouse at 213 Sterling Rd. The unauthorized exhibit, originally showing from June 13 for 4 weeks has now been extended due to popular demand. Toronto being the latest stop from the tour after Amsterdam, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Auckland and also Berlin.
Banksy & Lazarides
Steve Lazarides give an interesting insight in to how he and Bansky started working together and the things they got up to during their 11 years of partnership. Lazarides started off as being asked to do photograph portrait of Banksy. Ironic, as you never see his face. And that’s how the beginning of the exhibit starts. A huge photo of the artist, face obscured of course by Steve. His hidden identity has been part of the charm and mystery behind the street artist from Bristol. The more recognized pieces from Banksy like the Balloon Girl and Love Is In The Air shown at the exhibit are on loan from private collections.
One of the first questions I asked was, “how come Banksy is not involved and why are they no longer working together?” This is explained as you go through the exhibit by Lazarides through the videos on display. Ending by claiming there is no anonomosity between the two and they wanted to do “their own things.” However reading other articles about the exhibit claims the exact opposite, saying “they’ve been at loggerheads for years” and this exhibit has “pissed Banksy off.” So make of it what you will!
Banksy is known for his political views, his satirical humour and stencilled styled graffiti artwork. Banksy started his art on the streets. Later developing into stencils and then producing a series of prints to make some money. The now deceased company P.O.W. was created by Banksy and Lazarides as a better means to getting his artwork out. Other aspiring artists, graffiti writers and illustrators were taken under P.O.W’s wing.
As the art that was Walking round the exhibit, I found myself laughing to myself, seeing some pieces that were unknown to me. Like the Tesco art pieces “Very Little Helps” and the Tesco soup cans play on Warhol’s famous Campbell Soup Cans. (Maybe a part of me just misses shopping at home, though I’m more of an Asda girl myself). Also the Stop and Search with Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and Toto getting searched by an armed officer. Then there are his more controversial prints of the royal establishment and other highly known figures.
The show is controversial overall with some people calling for bans unless the artist has given full permission. I can understand that point of view. But on the other hand I really enjoyed this show, I don’t know if Banksy himself will ever do a show like this because past shows of his I wouldn’t of had a chance of getting in to. The artist, the ex-partnership, the show and the art would all count for controversial, so this is nothing new. With past stunts, including elephants in L.A. show, Paris Hilton remixes, drunk Santa’s at Santa’s ghetto’s and the attempts at temporary defacing of national monuments this is really no different. Banksy may be a little peeved with Lazarides but he can’t say he’s not keeping the running theme going…….
Banksy curated by Steve Lazarides extended until 19th August 2018.