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The Art of Banksy
Photograph: Courtesy The Art of Banksy

“The Art of Banksy” exhibit is looking for a new Chicago venue

The show won't be opening at the Epiphany Center for the Arts as previously announced.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

The location that will host the upcoming the "The Art of Banksy" exhibition in Chicago is proving to be as elusive as the street artist whose work it displays.The producers of the show announced yesterday that the show will no longer be premiering at the Epiphany Center for the Arts on August 7, as was previously announced. When the Chicago run of "The Art of Banksy" was initially announced in April, organizers pegged an opening date of July 1—though there was no venue attached at the time.

A statement from the producers of "The Art of Banksy" cited "irreconcilable differences between our organization and the owners of Epiphany Center for the Arts" as the reason for the cancelation of the show at the renovated church in the West Loop. "Epiphany Center’s management team frequently changed the terms of our agreement in a way that made producing the show in this venue untenable," the show's producer's stated.

In a statement posted on the Epiphany Center for the Arts' website, the venue's co-founder David Chase paints a slightly different picture of the breakdown, explaining that the venue spent nearly a month negotiating a lease with the exhibit's producer before communication suddenly ceased. According to Chase, the producers of the exhibit "preemptively, and without Epiphany’s permission, released an unauthorized announcement on Facebook stating that TAOB would be held at Epiphany," before a lease was even negotiated.

The statement from Chase also claims that "numerous critically-important, logistical aspects of the installation that were never finalized" and "certain financial commitments made to Epiphany were not honored." In short, Chase's retelling gives the impression that organizers of "The Art of Banksy" were primarily concerned with securing a Chicago venue for the exhibition that could be announced and drive ticket sales, while the actual logistics of putting together a show in the space took a backseat.

The Epiphany Center for the Arts also canceled several previously scheduled events to make way for the Banksy exhibition, including a 300-person wedding that was booked in the space. According to Chase's statement, Epiphany is working to reschedule weddings, concerts and other events that were initially canceled by the Banksy exhibition—though there's no guarantee that those affected by the abrupt cancellation will want to host their events at the West Loop venue.

The organizers of "The Art of Banksy" are currently on the hunt for a new venue for the exhibition, promising that they "will announce our new venue shortly. All patrons will be notified of the change of venue once it is confirmed." It's unclear what venue might be willing to work with the team behind the unauthorized exhibition in the wake of a very public breakdown. And with just over three weeks to find a space to host the show before the current August 7 opening date, it seems likely that the exhibit may suffer a second delay to accommodate a build-out at a new venue—if one can be secured.

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