Plans for an unauthorized Banksy exhibition in Rome are causing a stir. The show, titled “War, Capitalism & Liberty,” has not been approved by the artist.
The exhibition, which will go on display at the Palazzo Cupola museum in the Italian capital, brings together paintings, prints, and sculptures on loan from international collections.
Curators Stefano Antonelli, Francesca Mezzano, and Acoris Andipa say that the aim of the show is to analyze the social and political connotations in Banksy’s work.
“The work critically examines contemporary issues of war, consumerism, and politics,” Andipa told the Daily Mail. “And this is the first time a major collection of artwork by the artist, now considered the world’s best street artist, has been curated from private international collectors by an independent and important museum.”
He added, “This is the largest collection of work by the artist known as Banksy, a corpus of over 120 works including sculptures, stencils, and other artistic expressions, all strictly from private collectors and, therefore, absolutely not removed from the street.”
In April 2014, Banksy—whose true identity remains a mystery—appeared to react furiously when works were taken from the street to be exhibited and auctioned under the title “Stealing Banksy.” Despite the fact that organizers insisted the works were “sensitively salvaged,” the artist published a statement online criticizing the show. “I think it’s disgusting people are allowed to go around displaying art on walls without getting permission,” he said at the time, most likely aware of the ironic nature of such remarks coming from a street artist known for working illegally.
Seemingly undeterred by the artist’s choice words over the last unauthorized show, Antonelli turned on the charm. “Since the 1990s, the artist known as Banksy has used public space to express and exhibit his work, freeing the potential of graffiti and laying down a new blueprint for street art,” he said.
“In the history of Western art, no other artist has managed to bring themes of this magnitude to the attention of a global audience,” he added. It remains to be seen if Banksy will be appeased by the Italian’s flattery.
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