In a rare treat, a collection of work by street artist Banksy is making its Chicago debut.
Curated by Starvox Entertainment, the pieces included in the River North exhibit “The Art of Banksy” have come from collectors around the world. There’s just one twist: there was no help from the anonymous, British-based artist.
That’s right, it’s unauthorized.
Fortunately, the artist has created an office — Pest Control — that authenticates the work, which means every piece featured has more or less been approved by Banksy himself.
“At the end of the day, art is meant to be seen,” said Vicente Fusco, a curator with Starvox Entertainment. “So that’s kind of our premise, to get the public to enjoy these pieces that would otherwise be in storage elsewhere. Banksy is known for street art. So his most famous pieces appear out of the blue on walls in cities around the world. So if you were a Banksy fan and wanted to see these pieces, you would have to travel the world.”
Luckily, Chicagoans don’t have to travel far.
The exhibit features a wide variety of the artist’s work, including “Girl with Balloon,” which is said to represent both hope and activism.
Other recognizable works include “Flower Thrower” and “Rude Copper.” There’s even an “Off the Wall” album cover, in which a figure, who is believed to be Banksy, is seen spray painting a wall with his back to the camera.
The artist got his start in the 1990s, eventually transitioning from freehand to stencils in an effort to save time. Banksy has since developed a distinctive stencil aesthetic combined with satirical subjects, making light of everyday situations.
“Banksy is a pop culture icon, he appeals to everyone,” Fusco said. “So you don’t have to be an art lover to have fun and a great experience. In my opinion, that’s his biggest legacy and what makes him stand out.”
You can visit “The Art of Banksy” through October.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.