If the hunt for Banksy in the wild isn’t on your bucket list, are you even living?
Spotting one of the satirical, subversive stencils from arguably the world’s most iconic street artist surely ranks as one of the coolest cultural pursuits sought out by lovers of underground art.
But if you haven’t got the legs for traipsing down Melbourne laneways, or the cash to get to London to see more than 100 of Banksy’s graffiti across his hometown, Van Egmond Group engaged Alive to create a solution back in 2017 debuting the first ever Banksy pop up exhibition in Melbourne.
Hampel says the destruction of many Banksy pieces, including the parachuting rats accidentaly wiped from AC/DC Lane by the Melbourne City Council, gave greater impetus for audiences to witness the scope of Banksy’s collection
“Some of those Banksy rats ended up in a pile of rubble, carelessly loaded into a skip. Street art may be fluid, but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be revered. That’s what our Banksy exhibit was all about – taking 80 Banksy pieces and putting them up on a pedestal where the audience can admire the power and provocation of his work as a rare collective,” says Ant Hampel.
The Banksy show was unauthorised – of course it was. Why would the anonymous artist give up his identity after all these years – certainly not to endorse the display of his street art inside four walls. His mystery is part of the Banksy magic.
But Alive’s iconic Banksy expo didn’t involve fakes. ‘The Art of Banksy’ was curated by Steve Lazarides, the artist’s former manager and photographer – offering a deep dive into some of Banksy’s most famous original works from 1997 to 2008. Alive Event Agency’s display of them offered a more edgy take on the traditional art gallery setting and provided one of the world’s first one-stop Banksy pit stops.
Ant Hampel says the opportunity to view that private collection from one of the men closest to Banksy was akin to catching a glimpse of the graffiti legend himself – spray can in hand, making a hooded dash into the night.
“Banksy will always be an enigma, but to see the breadth of some of his greatest work all at once lets us draw back the curtain just a little in understanding how he’s come to be an artist worth more than $20 million a year,” says producer Anthony Hampel.
Alive cemented the foundations of a Banksy exhibition with its rare display of some of his most famous creations including ‘Flower Thrower’, ‘Rude Copper’ and ‘Girl with Balloon’ which made global headlines when it was dramatically shredded after selling at auction for $1.4 million – disintegrating from what looked to be an in-built device set up by the master prankster.
The ‘Art of Banksy’ tradition continues, with a new show which launches in Sydney in September, now produced by Live Nation. New pieces are being added to the exhibition Alive debuted in Melbourne – a fitting location given it’s one of the world’s most vibrant cities for street graffiti.
Ant Hampel says anyone who saw the Melbourne show in 2017 can take his challenge to spot the incoming works. Or not. Banksy hates rules. He once stated the greatest crimes in the world are committed by people following rules. So, do it your way. Anarchists always do.
Check out this video or more information on the up and coming Sydney exhibition.
Credit: The Art of Banksy