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Banksy announces new exhibition of his statement-making street art

<i>Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images</i><br/>Banksy's 2017 work
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Banksy's 2017 work "Basquiat being stop and searched" pictured on display ahead of the opening of the artist's new exhibition "Cut & Run" at Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art.

By José da Silva

In keeping with his works suddenly appearing in public spaces, the UK street artist Banksy announced just after midnight on Thursday that his first official exhibition in 14 years will open this weekend in Glasgow, Scotland. The show at the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) is titled “Cut & Run: 25 Years Card Labour” and will span the artist’s career, beginning with his earliest works made in the late 1980s to recent pieces made this year.

“Cut & Run” will focus on the stencils the artist uses to create his works, which are often spray painted on walls around the world, including on damaged buildings in Ukraine, a car park in Los Angeles, the exterior of an old prison and the interior of a London tube train. The exhibition will also feature the Union Flag stab vest that Banksy made for the pop star Stormzy, and paintings such as the 2017 piece “Basquiat being stop and searched,” a version of which was painted on the walls outside a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition at London’s Barbican Gallery in 2017.

Banksy said in a statement: “I’ve kept these stencils hidden away for years, mindful they could be used as evidence in a charge of criminal damage. But that moment seems to have passed, so now I’m exhibiting them in a gallery as works of art. I’m not sure which is the greater crime.”

One of the highlights of the show will be a model showing how Banksy embedded a shredder into the frame of one of his works, “Balloon Girl,” that infamously self-destructed during an auction at Sotheby’s London in 2018. In addition, the “artist’s actual toilet” will be on display, according to the press release.

The elusive artist, whose identity is still widely unknown, announced the exhibition news on his Instagram page.

A specially made website has also been launched with more details. “Cut & Run” will run from June 18 through August 28 and will be open through the night on weekends, closing at 5am before reopening again at 9am.

However, visitors hoping to visit after a night out who “show up appearing to be very intoxicated… may be refused entry,” according to the website. Photography will be strictly prohibited, with visitors having to put away their phones in a “lockable pouch for the duration” of their visit. But staff will be on hand taking complimentary Polaroid photographs for those wanting a memento of the occasion.

Although there have been several exhibitions of Banksy’s work staged over the past decade, this will be the first officially sanctioned one since his solo show “Banksy versus Bristol Museum,” which ran at a gallery in the artist’s home town in 2009. He says of the other shows: “While the unauthorized Banksy shows might look like sweepings from my studio floor, ‘Cut & Run’ really is the actual sweepings from my studio floor.”

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