An unauthorized exhibition of 80 artworks by the famous British street artist Banksy are on display in a Melbourne gallery this week. The mysterious artist’s unofficial show is curated by his former friend and agent Steve Lazarides, whom Banksy now avoids after having a fall out with him a decade ago.
Lazarides says he does not care about any moral implications of showing the artworks without Banksy’s approval. The curator adds that he needed to show the artworks, which were taken from private collections.
“He’s a revisionist, there’s no way he’d never put some of his old pieces into a show. I kind of figured the general public, they’re the people who put him where he is, and I think they’ve earned the right to see a show of his works,” says Lazarides. “Every single piece in this show was sold commercially at an exhibition at some point. There’s nothing that’s been taken off the street against his will. These were pieces that were openly sold.”
Local artist Adnate was also supposed to help the show but considered pulling out upon learning that it does not have Banksy’s approval. Still, he decided to remain and painted Lazarides as Judas and Banksy as Jesus, mimicking Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ.
The tickets cost $30 each. The cost for VIP entry is $80.
The costs of the tickets were criticized by Melbourne artist Doyle, adding that art, especially street art, should be free. Doyle, who has run a studio space for street artists for more than 15 years, also questioned the unauthorized exhibition.
Nonetheless, Lazarides defended that selling tickets for the exhibition is expected. The former agent describes Banksy’s works to be at par with the creations of Warhol, van Gogh or Picasso, all of which get paid to be viewed. Fans of the artist can catch the show in a tent behind Melbourne’s Federation Square until January 22, 2017.