Exhibit claiming to show Banksy artwork is coming to Tampa

What’s wrong with the ‘Banksyland’ exhibit coming to Tampa and being advertised on social media?

We know it’s unauthorized by pseudonymous street artist Banksy – the exhibition’s website features the slogan “Banksy: Unauthorized. Uncensored. Unmasked.

And exhibits specifically like this are discussed on Banksy’s website:

I see a new exhibition of Banksy’s work has just opened, is this allowed?

No. Banksy has NOTHING to do with any of the current or recent exhibits and they look nothing like an actual Banksy show. They might be crap so please don’t come and ask us for a refund.

Based in England, Banksy’s anti-authority street art has become a global phenomenon. Banksy started out as a graffiti artist, and is also an activist and filmmaker. That the artist managed to keep his identity unknown is astounding.

Despite criticism from the art establishment, Banksy was embraced by it. In 2018, her painting “Girl with Balloon” partially shredded moments after selling for $1.4 million at an auction at Sotheby’s. Ironically, this work now titled “Love Is in the Bin” was resold by the auction house for a whopping $25.4 million last year.

However, Banksy keeps strict control over the sale and authentication of his works, as counterfeits are numerous. The works he left in the street are often taken away.

The “Banksyland” website provides only a brief description of the exhibition, which is set to take place in Tampa from November 18-20: “‘Banksyland’ is an international traveling exhibition that immerses the public in the artist’s works the world’s most infamous and elusive: BANKSY Tampa’s first-ever exhibit features over 80 pieces and installations, including original and studio works, salvaged street art, and never-before-seen immersive installations at a secret location in downtown Tampa (ticket holders will receive event location 1-2 weeks prior to event opening).

Why the location is a secret is a burning question. For $29 (or $59 for a VIP experience, which includes all-day access, an audio tour, and a limited-edition hand-screened exhibit poster), people will want to know where they’re going.

The exhibit tour kicked off in Portland, Oregon in May. Elle Miller, curator of ‘Banksyland’, told online publication Oregon ArtsWatch at the time that she had not secured any locations in the rest of the towns, which may explain why the locations are being kept ‘secret’. .

A exam from the stopover in Austin, Texas, in Sightlines, an independent online arts and culture magazine, bears the headline: “Banksyland” capitalizes on Banksy’s anti-capitalist message. The author writes that he “positively groans with irony”.

The “Banksyland” website says the exhibit is produced by One Thousand Ways, an “international experiential arts company specializing in innovative immersive events.”

Seattle weather reported in May on two unauthorized Banksy exhibits making the rounds, including “Banksyland.” He also said that Miller is the creator of One Thousand Ways, which was created to launch the “Banksyland” show.

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Miller told the Seattle Times that she originally conceived of One Thousand Ways as a nonprofit, with the idea of ​​donating a portion of the proceeds to arts organizations. It ended up being an LLC.

At that time, on the “Banksyland” website, visitors could support the organization Americans for the Arts – whose logo appeared there – by adding an additional $5 to their ticket purchases.

But a spokesperson for Americans for the Arts told the Seattle Times that the organization has no relationship with “Banksyland.” Miller acknowledged this, but said she still intended to donate the money to the band and local arts organizations.

Now, the Americans for the Arts logo does not appear on the “Banksyland” website, nor any suggestions for donations to other organizations.

An interview request emailed to Banksyland’s website went unanswered.

Christopher S. Washington