Steve Lazarides in Conversation

PODCAST: Banksy's gallerist discusses the phenomenon that is the street artist.

Steve Lazarides, Curator of BANKSY The Unauthorised Retrospective on view at Sotheby's in London and owner of Lazarides

In collaboration with Art Market Monitor, artnet News continues with its podcast series exploring the global art market.

This week Marion Maneker speaks with Steve Lazarides, who recently curated “BANKSY: The Unauthorised Retrospective” at Sotheby’s London S|2 gallery space. Lazarides opened his first gallery in London in 2006, and represented Banksy through the rapid rise of 2007 and 2008. The gallerist’s artist roster includes portrait painter Jonathan Yeo, Parisian artist JR, contemporary English painter Antony Micallef, Portuguese graffiti artist Vhils, and the American painter and muralist David Choe. Follow Lazarides on Twitter @Lazarides_Art.

Steve Lazarides, Curator of BANKSY The Unauthorised Retrospective on view at Sotheby's in London and owner of Lazarides

Steve Lazarides

Steve Lazarides: I think he [Banksy] always pursued his art as art. The sales really were only ever a secondary part of what he was doing. So he never had any interest in it whatsoever. It’s like the sales bit really was down to my side of things. He was just making the best show he possibly could that happened to evolve. His exhibitions in general were almost always like the whole thing was a performance. Now, he generally picked a derelict location. It was organized like a rave, where people wouldn’t know until the last minute where and when the location was. You quite often had live animals running around, and the whole thing was almost like a performance piece. The sales really were a secondary thing.

Marion Maneker: Talk about that performance aspect, because it certainly seems that he is a master of publicity. He came to New York where very few people knew who he was—maybe he was a cult figure, maybe certain people were obsessed with him—and he left after a month, his name on everyone’s lips. That’s a talent that he has.

Steve Lazarides: I don’t think any of this was ever engineered. And I don’t think we ever sat there and planned this out. I was describing to someone the other day: You look at what’s happened to Banksy and me and lots of other people. If you’d sat down and written a script and taken it to Hollywood, we would have been thrown out of every single office for being too unbelievable.

Listen to the podcast.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics