‘The Art Of Banksy’ exhibition coming to Toronto

Pop Goes The News – An exhibition of the art of mysterious British artist Banksy will make its North American debut this summer in Toronto.

A source at Live Nation told Pop Goes The News that the company and local partner Starvox Entertainment will announce Monday afternoon that The Art of Banksy will be staged in a warehouse space on Sterling Road in the west end.

Considered the world’s most famous graffiti artist, Banksy has managed to keep his identity a secret despite adding his stencil art to public surfaces in many cities, including Toronto in 2010 (there’s a Banksy on display at 1 York St.).

The Art of Banksy, described as the largest collection of the artist’s works, is curated by Steve Lazarides, a London gallery owner and Banksy’s former agent. It features more than 80 pieces either belonging to Lazarides or on loan from private collectors.

Banksy and Lazarides parted ways in 2008 and the latter has repeatedly admitted The Art of Banksy does not have the artist’s blessing.

“He’d hate it,” Lazarides told the BBC in 2014. “This is not something he would do.”

(A message on Banksy’s website in 2014 reportedly read: “I think it’s disgusting people are allowed to go displaying art on walls without getting permission.”)

The exhibition comes to Toronto from Berlin, where it has been on display since February and closes on June 15. It has previously been shown in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Melbourne.

The collection includes original canvases, paintings and sculptures as well as limited edition screen prints by Banksy. Among the pieces are the iconic “Girl and Balloon” and “Laugh Now.”

Photos taken by Lazarides during the time he represented Banksy are used to provide context.

The source said admission to The Art of Banksy will be comparable to the cost of accessing special exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which is currently $30 for adults.

And, yes, visitors can exit through the gift shop.