Banksy: Genius or Vandal Exhibit Review

February 3, 2022

I had the pleasure to attend the newest Banksy exhibition titled Banksy: genius or vandal. The exhibit was marketed as an unauthorized exploration of the anonymous artist through looking at his most popular artworks and themes. It is important to note that this exhibit was not sponsored nor supported by Banksy as he is not in favor of his work being showcased for an entry price. However, curiosity reigned and I personally wanted to see for certain is Banksy a Genius or Vandal?

Overview of the Banksy Art Exhibit

Typically events and exhibits in New York are hard to find, commonly occupying nondescript buildings, but this was an exception. The location was plastered with Banksy iconography of monkeys, girls with balloons, and more. It almost looked like an abandoned building covered in street art!

When arriving into the exhibit, I was greeted by staff where I needed to show my ticket for entry. Additionally, the main lobby had a free coat check so that guests could peruse the exhibition at leisure. There were a number of placards to lead guests into the exhibit space and through the story of who Banksy is.  The first alcove had a refurbished set of Banksy’s interview in the 2010 documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop. This was to give you a brief introduction to the artist despite we do not know his real identity. The remainder of the exhibit was organized  based on themes represented in the art of Banksy. These include: Consumption/consumerism, immigration, law enforcement, his favored monkeys and rats, Dismaland and other exhibits by the artist, influenced art by other artists, and finally the Girl with Balloon.

The Art of Banksy

This exhibit contains a lot of artwork, mostly being either signed or unsigned prints of his most famous works. Some are multiples of his iconic stencil and spray paint method and then others are silk screen prints. There was also an interesting feature of photography by Steve Lazarides, a friend of the artist and collaborator during the early days of Banksy.  Most of the placards pertaining to the description stated that the majority of these works came from private collections. This is no surprise to me, given that the majority of Banksy’s art, especially original works, is heavily popularized by many collectors.

The way the art exhibit was curated and organized, it offered guests a unique ability to cross analyze the street artist’s work and the more underlying messages of them. The audio guide is something that I highly recommend. The guide did an excellent job of giving a more in depth assessment of the graffiti artist’s art. This information I believe would be beneficial to any high brow collector to share when displaying their own Banksy collection, or for the avid fan’s curiosity and knowledge.

Besides just looking at the art there was also the option to partake in a Virtual Reality session. You are then transported to the streets of Bristol with a can of paint and stencil in hand, the mission is don’t get caught! It was a fun experience to essentially cosplay Banksy and would be a fun selling point for children or your friend’s who are not that into art. And then of course, you exit through the gift shop.

More to Know …

What Times is the exhibit open?

The exhibit is open from the hours of 10 am to 7 pm, excluding Tuesdays

How long does the Banksy exhibition take?

The exhibition itself is large and I would say anywhere between one to two hours would be best, especially if you are going to try your hand at the VR experience as well as use the audio guide.

Is the Banksy exhibit worth the price?

An adult ticket is $29 not including tax. For the amount paid, the guest does get a lot of access to information and a large selection of Banksy art. For this reason I would say that it is reasonably priced. To purchase your own tickets follow the link provided.

Where is the Banksy Exhibit located ?

526 6th avenue  New York, Ny 10011

( the corner of west 14th street and 6th avenue in New York City.)

How long is the Banksy Exhibit running?

The exhibit will be on view until the end of February so there is still time!

Is Banksy a Genius or Vandal?

That I will leave for you to decide when you take your visit.

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