Unfortunately, there are very few real art objects, like a rat painted on a door or street signs with graffiti. The majority of the items are prints, mostly copies with numbers like 560/600 on the tags.
Ironically, the most impressive items at the exhibition are large scale photos of Banksy’s original works on the walls of the actual buildings in England, in the U.S. and in Palestine with detailed explanations and the stories behind them. Banksy favors stencils — images drawn or printed on pieces of paper, then cut out and glued to the wall. The show has his favorite subjects: rats, apes, policemen, soldiers, and children.
The exhibition emphasizes Banksy’s political activism. His messages are usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Two of his most recent projects — Dismaland and the Walled Off Hotel — are well detailed. Dismaland was a joke on an amusement park near London that tells the stories of refugees stuck in Europe’s camps. The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem introduces tourists from Israel to the harsh realities of life on the other side of the wall dividing Israel and Palestine.
While there is much of value in the show, there is also a certain sensationalism that is reflected in the exhibition’s official title “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?” Visitors are greeted by a sometimes malfunctioning two-channel video installation with disjointed episodes from Banksy’s life, and there are several non-art installations based on Banksy’s art objects, one even featuring a hooded man meant to represent the elusive artist.
The exhibition runs until September 2.
10 Krymsky Val. Metro Oktyabrskaya, Park Kultury. www.banksyart.ru