Exhibition Review: The Art of Banksy

A big and bold celebration of the renowned British street artist Banksy, The Art of Banksy: Without Limits, opens at the Myer Centre.
Dr Diana Carroll

The British artist still known only as Banksy is unquestionably a super-star of the art world. Many of his best-known works are instantly recognisable – the girl with the balloon? Banksy; the little rat with a machine gun? Banksy again. These images are iconic and recognised across the world.

This exhibition is a commercial ‘block-buster’ in the tradition of the Titanic touring show that did the world stage a few years ago. It opened this week in Adelaide after long runs in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the USA and has been seen by millions of people globally. The Adelaide exhibition follows its Australian premiere in Brisbane.

The empty retail spaces on the upper-ground floor of the Myer Centre make a fitting backdrop for the show given the artist’s vocal anti-consumerist sentiments; in Brisbane it was shown in a disused Coles supermarket in the centre of the city.

All those great works and big themes are here: capitalism, consumerism, fascism, refugees, and more. Banksy is an artist with plenty to say and the talent to say it in a way that makes everyone take notice. There’s even a wonderful infinity room where Banksy works are projected onto mirrored screens on the floor, walls, and ceiling, so they seem to go on forever.

I loved this show. It’s a generous celebration of Banksy’s incredible cultural contribution as a street artist and social commentator. With over 150 works on display, there is so much to see and lots to think about. It would be perfect for older children too.

Do be aware that The Art of Banksy: Without Limits is essentially a tribute show – only a very small number of the works on display actually have the hand and eye of the artist, and it’s not always clear which ones are the real thing and which are copies or reproductions.

This is a private venture and is not in any way endorsed or authorised by the artist; indeed, quite the opposite! Banksy himself makes no money from the exhibition or the ticket sales but it does, of course, enhance the Banksy legend and spreads the word about the causes he champions. There is an excellent book to accompany the exhibition for sale as you ‘exit through the gift shop’.

So, go along and enjoy the exhibition and then share a robust discussion about whether any of that really matters!


The Art of Banksy: Without Limits

artofbanksyau.com

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