Unsanctioned Banksy Show Will Anger Artist, His Former Dealer Says

It didn't stop Steve Lazarides from curating the show.

A visitor at Banksy's unauthorized retrospective in the UK in 2014. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

A large-scale retrospective of the British graffiti artist Banksy is coming to Australia, despite the fact that the unsanctioned exhibition is likely to deeply upset the artist.

The show—which will fill a parking lot in the southeastern city of Melbourne—features 80 works loaned from private collections all over the world. But according to the show’s curator, Banksy’s former dealer Steve Lazarides, the exhibition is taking place without the artist’s blessing.

“Banksy and I haven’t spoken for over a year,” Lazarides told Broadsheet. “He’s not the kind of guy who is ever going to do a retrospective.”

The dealer acknowledged that whilst he’s certain that Banksy would be upset about the show, he doesn’t have any qualms over his curatorial participation in the event. Especially after their well-publicized falling-out. “Hell yeah. I hope so,” he said when asked if the artist would be angry about the exhibition. “We’ve been at loggerheads for years.”

Banksy's estranged former art dealer Steve Lazarides. Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Old Vic.

Banksy’s estranged former art dealer Steve Lazarides. Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Old Vic.

Despite a disintegrating personal relationship with the artist, Lazarides maintains that the work is as relevant as ever. “I started looking at his paintings and a lot of them have more relevance now than when they were painted,” he admitted. “I think it’s good to get it back out there and for people to start talking about things.”

Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle called the show a “major coup” for the city, and it’s a rare opportunity for Australian street art aficionados and Banksy fans to see iconic works such as Girl With Balloon, Flag Wall, or Laugh Now. Many of the works are in private collections.

“This exhibition is a [one-off]—never will you be able to see this amount of work in one place again,” Lazarides said in a statement cited by Mashable. “Once the show is over the artwork will dissipate back to the other 40 collectors around the world and the likelihood of them being brought together again in the future is very slim.”

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