Qatari Investor Gives Seven-Figure Sum to Early Banksy Agent Steve Lazarides
He's taking the money and running to the Mayfair district.
It’s every gallerist’s dream to discover the world’s next big artist.
Thanks to a seven-figure endowment conferred by a prominent Qatari investor Wissam al-Mana, gallerist Steve Lazarides has been given reason to dream a little bigger, according to the Financial Times. Lazarides is known for his early associations with English artist Banksy, although their professional relationship ended in 2009.
“We haven’t really spoken to each other in a long time; to be honest, I have no idea where he is,” the gallerist explained about parting with the artist in a 2010 Vanity Fair interview. “And it gave me much more capacity to work with everyone else. It was an amazing ride and I wouldn’t be here without it, but I don’t necessarily miss it.”
Lazarides plans on relocating Lazarides Rathbone Gallery out of Fitzrovia and into London’s posh Mayfair district. “I have spent every single penny we have made in this gallery to reinvest and to try to grow it,” he told the Financial Times. His curatorial direction will likely find a welcome home in the affluent neighborhood, having already caught the attention of al-Mana.
Art seems to be al-Mana’s next market frontier, as he already runs the family’s retail empire. According to their website, the Al Mana operation has hands in a bevy of industries including real estate, automotives, engineering, entertainment, media, fashion, technology, and now art.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Lazarides, although he no longer represents Banksy, recently organized an unauthorized retrospective for the street artist in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. According to Lazarides, this move was spurred by the work’s political appeal amidst a climate that finds Turkey home to two million refugees.
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