I like Banksy. I have watched Exit Through the Gift Shop multiple times, on my first trip to London I enjoyed seeing some of his work along the canals and I even got his book for Christmas or a birthday one year. I wasn’t expecting too much when I went to see this “unauthorised” retrospective at Sotheby’s and although there was a substantial amount of works I left feeling depressed about the whole situation. It’s not that I don’t like seeing his work hanging on the walls, hell if it’s painted onto canvases and signed then it has every right to be there, I think just the way it was set up was what got to me. The walls had been splattered with paint in a seemingly haphazard manner but the floors and ceiling were perfectly clean which just emphasised the controlled environment this “rebellious” wall spraying had been created in. The works were all the usual images we would associate with Banksy but they just seemed like a greatest hits, lined up one after the other. There were no prices which annoys me about the transparency of it all and is just a reminder about how deceptive the art world can be.
This white-cube-anti-white-cube approach to displaying graffiti art just didn’t seem right when they have millions of pounds worth of art hanging just across the street. By all means try something new but this was just unbearably fake.