I have been involved in a series of unauthorised Banksy retrospective exhibitions over the past five years. This started in 2016 when the Italian cultural foundation Associazone Metamorfosi planned a major retrospective exhibition of the work of the artist known as Banksy to be held at the presigious Palazzo Cipolla on Rome’s Via del Corso between 24th May and 4th September 2016. John Brandler, a gallery owner who specialises in street art, knew of my collection of record and CD covers with cover art by Banksy and recommended to the curators Stefano Antonelli, Francesca Mezzano and Acoris Andipa including mey records and CDs in the exhibition. The exhibition, called War, Capitalism & Liberty, was divided into sections illustrating these three themes.
Then in 2019 the Fondazione Metamorfosi contacted me again asking to borrow my Banksy collection for a new exhibition to be called Il Secundo Principio di un artista chiamato Banksy [The Second Principle of the artist known as Banksy]. The exhibition was held between 23 November and 29 March 2020. An exhibition catalogue was produced for this show.
Metamorfosi decided to that the exhibiiton should move to a series of exhibition halls in Italy and Switzerland, first to Ferrara, then to Parma and later to Basel and Lugarno. The title of the exhibition changed to Un artista chiamato Banksy for the Ferrara show.
The following exhibitions in Parma, Basel and Lugano were all titled Banksy: Building Castles in the Sky and used the same catalogue design.
These exhibitions included paintings, prints, books, posters, sculpture and, of course record and CD covers illustrating all aspects of Banksy’s art, with the exception of paintings on walls. The curators have been careful to point out that Banksy has not been involved in these unauthorised exhibitions and that no works from buildings are included as ownership of such works is unclear.
I had the priviledge to attend the openings of the War, Capitalism & Liberty and the Il secundo principio di artissta chiamato Banksy exhibiitons. The Covid pandemic prevented me visiting the Ferrara, Parma, Lugano and Basel exhibitions.
After Lugano, curators Stefano Antonelli and Gianluca Marziani, together with Fondazione MetaMorfosi transferred the exhibtion to New York, in the former International Center of Photography building at 250 Bowery. This was still called Banksy: Building Castles in the Sky and a new catalogue was produced for the show.
The New York exhibition opened on 28th May and will run until 31st December 2022. It was a thrill for me to be invited to the opening and to meet the curators, who had published a book of Banksy’s art in Italian in 2021 and could present an English language version at the opening of the New York show.
Twenty-nine of my record covers and 16 CDs are on show at the exhibition.
The exhibition proivides a great overview of Banksy’s art and includes is most famous images including his Rage: Flower Thrower, Girl with Balloon , Turf War and I Fought the Law, among many others.