Banksy Show Issuing Refunds Because It’s Mostly Fake Banksy Works
You may have seen a recent onslaught of Facebook ads and advance publicity for a Banksy show coming to San Francisco, called The Art of Banksy (opening November 22, at a supposedly “secret location” in SF). That show is not to be confused with a rival unauthorized traveling Banksy show entitled Banksy: Genius or Vandal, that just opened in New York and is coming to Los Angeles. And that show is not to be confused with The Art of Banksy: Without Limits, that’s scheduled to arrive next month in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Miami, and is currently open in Seoul, South Korea.
But a disappointing discovery casts a different light on all three traveling, unauthorized Banksy shows. ArtNet reports that “An unauthorized Banksy exhibition in Seoul has come under fire from visitors disappointed that the vast majority of the works on view were reproductions, rather than original works of art by the anonymous British street artist.”
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That art publication adds that “of the 150 artworks on view in Seoul, only 27 are originals, according to the Korea Herald, prompting reviews complaining that “it is a pity that the show did not specify that most of works are replicas.”
That show is now issuing refunds, but they’ve already made a killing. According to ArtNet, “It’s been touring since its 2016 debut in Istanbul, and has visited 11 countries, reportedly attracting over 1 million visitors.”
To be clear, that is not the show that is coming to San Francisco in November. But even the show coming to San Francisco, organized by Banksy’s former art dealer, does not feature the original graffiti works. As ArtNet explains, it’s “predominantly screen prints—not the illegal graffiti paintings that invariably captivate the internet whenever they pop up in the wild.”
In other words, unlike the Diego Rivera mural at the SFMOMA, they did not move the original work from walls, it’s more like a collection of numbered prints.
And of course, Banksy himself hates these traveling, unauthorized shows that Museum on Ice Cream-ify his works into VR goggle “immersive experiences,” wall projections, and the corporate-run “get ‘em in, get ‘em out” assembly line approach to looking at art.
“Members of the public should be aware there has been a recent spate of Banksy exhibitions none of which are consensual,” Banksy wrote on his website. “They‘ve been organised entirely without the artist’s knowledge or involvement. Please treat them accordingly.”