Los Angeles is no stranger to Banksy. The anonymous street artist’s pointed murals have popped up on walls and billboards in L.A. for years now, and notably in a massive warehouse show the mysterious figure staged in 2006. And now some more graffitied works are set to arrive as part of a touring exhibition, “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?”
The unauthorized exhibit—more on that in a bit—will open in L.A. this August and boasts over 80 works from the famed British street artist. Based on a peek at previous editions of the show, it looks like it’ll mostly feature signed prints as well as photographs of works, with a few pieces of preserved street art thrown into the mix. The exhibition description also promises some sort of virtual reality component.
Though location info has yet to be released (we’ve reached out for more info, but for now all we know is it’ll come to a frustratingly vague “secret location in Los Angeles”), we do know that reservations for the hour-long experience will go on sale May 4 at noon. Tickets start at $29.50 for adults and $19.90 for kids.
That price tag is actually kind of a sore point for Banksy himself. In a 2018 Instagram post that referenced the exhibition’s initial staging in Moscow, the artist commented that he had nothing to do with it, and wrote that “I don’t charge people to see my art unless there’s a fairground wheel.” (Though “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?” won’t have Dismaland-like attractions, it will have a gift shop.) A lengthier statement on the artist’s website says that “Members of the public should be aware there has been a recent spate of Banksy exhibitions, none of which are consensual. They’ve been organized entirely without the artist’s knowledge or involvement. Please treat them accordingly.”
Though none of the pieces on display in “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?” come directly from the artist, the exhibition’s website state that they’re all “genuine and certified works” that come from “private European collections” (though their exact origins aren’t identified).
We’ll note that we’re always a little wary of these sorts of unauthorized events: From floating cinemas to Disney-themed brunches, we’ve seen a number of touring events at “secret locations” announce L.A. dates in the past few years but never actually materialize. But the Banksy show appears to be the real deal: It landed nearby in Las Vegas in late 2019, and locally it’s being produced by Exhibition Hub, which has staged “The Art of the Brick,” a version of which is currently on display at the California Science Center, as well as a series immersive Van Gogh exhibitions—but not the one that’s coming to L.A.
Until we can step inside for ourselves, check out a preview of “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?” below.