Visitors to the Art Of Banksy exhibit in Toronto this week were treated to a little surprise courtesy of a local artist, who—much like Banksy did in 2005—ducked the museum’s security forces and hung a homemade print on the wall. Though, unlike Banksy, this artist isn’t remaining anonymous and quickly took responsibility for the addition on his Twitter:
“Theft is bringing street art inside and then charging an admission fee,” reads the description of the 5x7 print, which depicts a road lined with the copies of the Banksy piece “Trolley Hunters” barricaded by a roadblock requesting a $35 admission fee (the price of admission to the Art Of Banksy exhibit). It’s not the most subtle work, but, then again, Banksy himself isn’t really known for subtlety. The piece, aptly titled “Free-For-All,” is a direct condemnation of the museum’s attempt to capitalize on art that, in theory, should be free to the public. Charging admission for the exhibit also seems to go against the often anti-capitalist ethos behind much of Banksy’s work.
However, while some on Twitter were celebrating Ramanayake’s rebellious act of artistry, the exhibit organizers took a moment to respond on their Facebook page saying that, while they understood the “homage” to Banksy in his attempt to “enhance” their exhibit, it was clear Ramanayake hadn’t done his homework:
Our exhibit consists entirely of art that Banksy designed for exhibits, and which he himself has sold to private collectors to fund the work he does in the public domain. Our artwork, owned by international collectors, consists of sculptures, prints, original paintings and massive canvases which are rarely exhibited to the general public. Instead of taking art that is seen by the masses and is free for all to see on the street, the Art of Banksy exhibits Banksy art normally only seen by a select few and showcases it to the masses.
According to their website, the Art Of Banksy exhibit has been extended to August 19th. So, if you’ve got any scathing, possibly misguided social critiques you want to spring on the unsuspecting public, get yourself to Toronto.
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