‘Disgusting’: Brussels’ unauthorised Banksy exhibition comes under fire

‘Disgusting’: Brussels’ unauthorised Banksy exhibition comes under fire
Credit: Belga

A new exhibition in Brussels, ‘Banksy: the Brussels show’, is drawing a lot of criticism from the street-art world as it puts up authentic works for sale without the artist’s permission.

The Deodato Art gallery in the Brussels’ Rue Saint-Jean was inaugurated with the opening of the exhibition on Wednesday, which displays a total of 17 works – most of them limited edition screenprints – by the anonymous street artist.

“To summarise it in one word: disgusting,” street art expert and curator at the Ruby Gallery in Brussels Bjorn van Poucke told Bruzz. “I think it is disgusting that someone wants to make big money on the account of Banksy, who ultimately has nothing to show for it.”

The works’ value varies between €30,000 and half a million euros for a screen print of The Flower Thrower, according to Marzia Pasqualone, the manager of the gallery.

“Most of the works sold here come with frame, which is exceptional,” she told Het Nieuwsblad, adding that the prints that do not have Banksy’s signature are cheaper than the works that do.

“The well-known Flower Thrower, on the other hand, is not for sale. That work is too valuable and is regularly loaned out to museums,” Pasqualone said.

Credit: Belga

According to Deodato Art’s website, “all the works on display are original and certified, but the exhibition is not authorised by Banksy, who never gives permission for his exhibitions to be organised by galleries or museums.”

“Most of those works are sold by Banksy for a very reasonable price – between €100 and €1,000 – so that anyone can buy them,” said van Poucke, who cannot comprehend that Deodato now sells those works for such high prices.

Making money with art is not wrong, but galleries have to do it with the artist’s consent, he stressed.

“When we do a show, we talk the project and the concept through with the artist,” added van Poucke. “We make sure that the people who visit the exhibition are somewhat taken on a journey in the creative world of that artist.”

“We are an art gallery, so we hope to sell pieces,” the owner of the gallery Salafia Deodato told Bruzz. “It is good business for me, it is good business for Banksy, it is good business for my employees, and it is good business for the Belgian country because I will pay taxes.”

On Banksy’s website, however, the artist announced that “members of the public should be aware there has been a recent spate of Banksy exhibitions, none of which are consensual.”

“They have been organised entirely without the artist’s knowledge or involvement,” he said. “Please treat them accordingly.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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