All posts tagged: Central House Of Artists

Banksy Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Currently Playing In Moscow

Banksy Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Currently Playing In Moscow

They could have called it “Smoke & Mirrors”. Now you see him, now you don’t.

Instead the name of the new exhibition about the British Street Artist Banksy here in Moscow is posed by the organizers as a question – “Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You!”

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Absent of a substantial collection of original pieces of art, the exhibition relies heavily on print editions (some of the editions higher numbers), blown up oversized photographs and a multi screened multi-media video montage in a darkened spooky area that may impart a sense of Street Art’s original transgressive nature to visitors. There don’t appear to be any masterpieces, but its hard to say.

In order to fill the enormous entire second floor of the venue, Central House Of Artists located in Gorky Park in Central Moscow, the organizers printed large photos taken of the actual original works placed on the streets of England, The USA and Palestine. There isn’t a problem with the photographic material, and many of them are of good quality but the show isn’t advertised as an exhibition of street art photography.

The naming of the show and its description implies that this is a solo exhibition of Banksy, actually, and not only is a large percentage of space taken for documentation of the work, the Instagram account attributed to the anonymous artist has recently announced that Banksy has no involvement in it whatsoever. In reality these are finer distinctions that the majority of visitors will care little about.

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spare yourself the incredulity; this is a marketing exercise and entertainment show meant to draw a general audience to view the works of Banksy, his greater ideas, his wit, and his politics. In the process the show acquaints them with the general practice of Street Art, and very possibly strengthens the value of his works on the market and in private collections. Truthfully, we are no more assured of Banksy’s or his teams’ involvement / disinvolvement in this show than we are of his hands performing the spraying of stencils on walls or animating stuffed animals in the back of a truck. In this way anonymity has a slew of benefits, and the veracity of any public statements attributed to him must necessarily also be viewed with at least a little suspicion.

If successful, and by unofficial count “Genius or Vandal?” has drawn between a third to a half million visitors, it will probably be packaged as a mobile exhibition and go on the road like the one by his former Manager Steve Lazarides “The Art of Banksy”, which is currently in Toronto, after being shown in Melbourne, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv and Auckland. If this indeed has drawn half a million visitors, that would mean roughly 1 in 26 of Moscow’s 13.2 million inhabitants have seen the show.

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And this is as much a show (or more) as it is an exhibition. To augment the slim collection of original works the organizers created a video montage that is splashy and attractive; a sort of a retrospective in 20 minutes that is lengthened because every slide or animation with text has to be shown twice, in English and in Russian. The designers of the exhibition create a series of environments or installations meant to be evocative of the margins of metropolis – cargo pallets, metal drums, street cones and a recreation of what we imagine is the artists’ studio as featured in the movie “Exit Through The Gift Shop”. It’s an edgy theme park feeling for everyday folks as well, meant to imbue the show with an aura of authenticity and street cred.

Along the way visitors can also learn about his political opinions and forays into Israel/Palestine/Bethlehem, his sorrowful Dismaland theme park, his general upending of pleasant conventions and his deeper commitment to social justice. Cheesy as it might be, this show isn’t a bad introduction to Banksy the person and Banksy the brand, and if he has no involvement with this it can be argued that it is still beneficial in some ways.

Yes there’s a gift shop as well, naturally, as you exit the show.

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more information please visit http://banksyexhibition.com/


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BSA Film Friday: 08.24.18

BSA Film Friday: 08.24.18

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Scenes from the Banksy Exhibition in Moscow
2. Obey Giant – Shepard Fairey

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Scenes from the Banksy Exhibition in Moscow

“But the fact that a personal exhibition of a living artist is being held, and he has nothing to do with this – that’s strange.” – Olga Proskurnina and Elizaveta Podkolzina write in a recent article for “The Village”.

“Hm, not sure I’m the best person to complain about people putting up pictures without getting permission,” says a text bubble attributed to the anonymous Street Artist on his Instagram account.

It’s a highly unusual exhibition of the British Street Artist Banksy’s work in Moscow, one that the artist himself says he has nothing to do with. Yes there are original works of his and many highlights of his public career are covered, but the unofficial traffic number of 300,000 attendees since it opened in June are largely going to remember the impressively animated multi-media montages that splash across the multiple screens for the exhibition of 2000 square meters.

Approved or not, this is about Street Art, a practice in public space that frequently is transgressive and flaunts the conventions that we once accepted as a given. It’s difficult to anticipate or measure the repercussions of any given creation once it is up, a fact that Street Artists everywhere know and appreciate.

Below is a version of the video montage that greets visitors to the exhibition. The montage has been edited for brevity and includes only selected scenes from the massive projection inside the Central House of Artists as the works of Banksy once again create a stir, this time in Moscow.

Obey Giant – Shepard Fairey

And Speaking of global masters on the Street Art scene, here’s a full movie documentary on Shepard Fairey and his work to bring us up to speed. The American Fairey will be in the cosmopolitan Russian capital September 19th to debut his new exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, called “Force Majeure”. Organized with RUArts Foundation, curated by MMOMA and Wunderkammern Gallery the exhibition will be with the collaboration of the 3rd Artmosphere Biennale, which opens August 30th.

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