I visited the Art of Bansky on Saturday, 6 January, the day after it was opened. I was going to go on the Friday but with the troushous weather it was postponed. I knew about the exhibition as I bought tickets to Auckland Festival, and found the brochures at the ticketing office. None of the girls there were able to help me because tickets was not on the system and they had no information about the show either. There were two prices, the $35 for the full price and $30 for the Christmas pack. As I was given no assistance on how the two were different, I waited to it to be available online, and bought my tickets online. It was $30 plus ticketing prices.
I have waited for more than month to be able to see this exhibition so naturally I cannot wait to see it when it was opened. The carpark was full and there were queues of people buying tickets and waiting to get in. It didn’t take too long to get in, and the poor staff standing outsde the exhibition explaining the same details to everybody “no flash, bring your bags in front of you so it won’t hit anyone, and…” then she forgotten what she was supposed to say.
I entered the exhibition and it wasn’t packed inside, so I was able to move in and around quite freely, taking photos and reading every words on the signs. There was a short clip which included snapshots of “Exit Through the Gift Shop“, and on the walls of the exhibition was prints, story and some acrylic work of the artist itself.
It started more about who Banksy was, before he was famous, then his famous work, and the rats, which he became quite fond of. There were also the works of Kate Moss whom was told she is a huge fans of Bansky and how some of the paintings of Kate Moss were stolen during a burglary.
The most interesting part of the exhibition is, the contradictions between the message Bansky is giving, anti-capatalism and anti-consumerism. As you leave the exhibition there was a sign “this is the end of the exhibition, if you want to return to the exhibition you must purchase another ticket.”
As you leave, you also see this massive Resene wall where someone can take a photo for you to be then posted on your social media with the hashtag “#artofbanskyakl”. Then you are greeted by a “souvenir” shop of overpriced memorabilia such as T-Shirts, cups, kitchen towel, cards, shopping bags and reprints.
Today my friend tagged me on an article posted on the Spinoff, as I have previously posted a short comment about the exhition on my Instagram. As someone who has worked in the Museum and the Art Gallery and has an arts management background, I don’t agree that the exhibition should be free because you can see his art work for free, or that it precludes people who can benefit from this, for example, younger people. The price is steep, despite what the ladies standing behind me think. The Auckland Art Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition, The Crosini Collection, and the entry fee for adults is $19; or the Manifesto, which will be on show in February, is only $15.
The exhibition has two sponsors, Nissan and Resene, claim that it is presented in partnership with Auckland Live. While I do not know how much it cost to bring the exhibition to New Zealand, the organisers clearly needs to recover the cost and perhaps make some money from bringing this to New Zeaaland. Like all other exhibitions, having a memorabilia retail space is important, as people do want to take home some souvenirs to remember their trip and experience. It is the irony that makes this experience interesting.
The final chapters of the exhibition is about anti-consumeralism. There was the 2003 “Golf Sale”, 2006 “Sale Ends”, 2004 “Consumer Jesus” and 2007 “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit”. And as you leave the exhibition, you see exhausted retail staff serving customers who wanted to buy all the goodies they could put their hands on.
For me it was an interesting observation and athropological experience, and in somewhat, philosophical. How ironic, how contradictory is this, the message Bansky just expressed and the human behaviour.
Perhaps, as Banksy put it on the original caption of “Golf Sale”:
"We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves."