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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Banksyland On Tour

Last week we had the joy of viewing international art at home. Portland is the first (and possibly only) stop on the tour of Banksy art called, appropriately, Banksyland. This includes art from a private collection, canvas prints of large building murals, videos, and possible recreations. 

Portland is the first stop on the tour of Banksy art called, appropriately, Banksyland. This includes art from a private collection and recreations.

While not all the pieces are original pieces, it's okay, because proceeds from your ticket go toward charity. Eric and I have been to the UK and seen a few of Banksy's pieces, including some of his famous rats. Obviously, we haven't been all over the city, and we've only been in the city for 3 weeks over the last 15 years, so it would be difficult for us to see many.

Banksy rats we saw in London

Banksy has art all over the world. Much of it is political- or human rights-related, and makes you think about everything around you in a different way, which can only be a good thing. Art should make you view things differently. Banksy has been doing guerilla street art for decades and has worked with other artists to create an anti-corporation defunct theme park exhibit and bought a boat to be used as a way to help refugees that don't live in an EU country, since distress calls from non-Europeans don't really get answered. 

Banksy has devoted a career to being anonymous, but also using his money for good and to make statements, whether social, political, or corporational. Greed is bad, war is bad, exploitation is bad. People can be and do good. Cops want to help people, but can get caught up in their power over people. Look for beauty everywhere, because it's there.

Banksy created a whole hotel museum full of Banksy art in Jerusalem to show the huge disparity in how people live within Israel. Called the Walled Off Hotel, a play on the Waldorf Astoria, you can actually stay in rooms here. Budget rooms are cheap and outfitted with Israeli military surplus. They are much like hostel rooms with shared bathrooms. In the same hotel, you can stay in a lavish suite. The photos themselves probably don't do enough justice to how it feels to visit.

I really enjoyed the transitions of the video art showing how a blank wall is transformed and how they can use things that are already on the street/sidewalk or even on the wall to make it personal. Clearly, you aren't getting the full experience with this exhibit, because they can't recreate the significance of the art on certain buildings, but when you can't travel, this is kind of the next best thing. Easily accessible art is always a good thing in my opinion, and is echoed by those that put on this show.

This show isn't huge, but there is a lot packed into a small space. You learn about the pieces and the relevance of certain things. You learn about Banksy's views of corporate greed, advertising, the government, war, and the beauty around us. You can watch a short video on the obtaining of that refugee boat, how corporations use advertising to exploit you, and how Dismaland, the anti-greed theme park, came together and was received.

You should know that this is an unofficial exhibition. Banksy did not endorse it, as he believes that art should be free and accessible to everyone. This is why almost all of his artwork is street art. Literally, anyone who walks past that building can view it, for nothing, and take their time to admire, enjoy, and critique it. If nothing else, I felt our money going to charity, even if it's just to enable more people to see and experience more art, was put to good use. 

There's also a very small gift shop that I didn't think was necessary, but there were some cool things in there, including Banksy-fied skate decks. What's your favorite traveling art show or permanent museum?

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