Bemused street artist says 'nothing to do with' major Russian exhibition

Lewis Collier
August 19, 2018

Russia's largest art exhibition center is allegedly running an unauthorized exhibition of street artist Banksy's work that even the artist himself didn't know about, according to organizers and the artist's social media.

Works by the anonymous artist are being shown at a Moscow gallery exhibition that organizers tout as the main art event of the year and the first time Banksy's art has been shown in Russian Federation.

The mysterious artist posted a screengrab of a conversation he had with a concerned fan to his Instagram account, expressing exasperation after being informed that two dozen original pieces - along with scores of prints - were being exhibited in the Russian capital. The involved fan wrote it was an exhibition of his artworks in Moscow, with an equivalent of 20 British Pounds charged. "I don't charge people to see my art unless there's a fairground wheel", Banksy replied.

Over 250,000 people have visited this summer with entry costing up to 650 rubles ($9.7) on weekends, while VIP tickets that allow visitors to skip queues cost 1,400 rubles.

"I think it's a very fair price".

Banksy called out the Moscow gallery that has organized the exhibition for showing his art without his approval and for charging people to see his art.

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The exhibition of the famous street artist is on between June 2 and September 2.

But the guerrilla artist suggested he was not "the best person to complain about people putting up pictures without getting permission", after his interlocutor suggested he release a press release disavowing the event. "Unauthorized" exhibitions have recently been held in Toronto, Berlin, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv.

Organisers of the exhibition said in an Instagram post they had never promoted the event as authorised by Banksy and did not have his permission to display the privately-owned works.

"I wish I could find it amusing".

"The fact that Banksy paid attention to our exhibition reaffirms the significance of this event", Nachkebia told the RBC news website. "I mean, how can you get confirmation from Banksy?"

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