Getting Banksy on it

 

“I didn’t have any expectations really, so I enjoyed it.”

A couple of weeks ago, the hunch team bundled themselves over to the Aotea Centre to explore the Banksy exhibition. Some loved it. Others were a bit “meh”. Turns out Steph’s approach was probably best: if you don’t know what to expect, you can’t be disappointed.

Banksy, for the uninitiated, is an anonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director. Well that’s what Wikipedia says, anyway. “His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique.” Or as Dylan summed him up, “one of the most infamous street artists who created compelling and conversation striking pieces across the globe.”

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So how do you take subversive street art and build a commercial exhibition? Turns out, it’s a bit tricky. “Walking into the exhibition I had rather high expectations. Imagining a fully immersive world of interactive art pieces that reflect some dystopian future straight out of black mirror.” Having followed Banksy over the years, Genamay was full of expectations. She was hoping for “Dismaland in Aotea Square.” But that’s not really what it was.

As we know, when it comes to creativity and communication, context is key. Or as Dylan said “the artworks on display seems a bit artificial out of their contextual locations”.

That being said, it was great to get an up close and personal view of the work. And as Matt observed “while I glossed over the art itself, I did find myself drawn to Banksy himself. The background, the mystery, the conspiracies – and hats off to anyone who can use their talent to convey controversial messages to the world.”

In summary, it was an interesting exhibition about Banksy, but not a great way to experience the power of his (her?) work.

Pros

  • There were some cool insights into his career, where he started, where he is now and what he’s done along the way.
  • It was interesting to see all his work in one place, even if it was a bit repetitive and mostly screen prints. It made the ideas that were important to him very apparent.

Cons

  • I felt like Banksy would not have approved of paying for the exhibition. He was a street artist and wasn’t about charging people to see his art.
  • There was a gift shop of random Knick knacks with his prints all over them. A common theme through much of his art revolves around the fact that humans are trapped by consumerism. So, I doubt he would be an advocate for a gift shop of tacky knock off Banksy print tea towels and mugs.

Verdict

  • Interesting in parts. But seemed like it was cashing in – and well over hyped.
 
Michael Goldthorpe