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Home / Arts / World’s largest Banksy exhibition coming to Toronto directly from London

World’s largest Banksy exhibition coming to Toronto directly from London



Banksy’s iconic depiction of Mona Lisa makes North American debut as world’s largest collection of artist’s work returns to Toronto with twice the number of previously unseen artworks

A who’s who of Toronto media gathered today at Lighthouse Artspace for the announcement of a landmark art exhibition coming to Toronto. The protagonist of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece is going to make its North American debut through the eyes of one of this century’s most controversial artists. Banksy’s Mona Lisa is wrestled from her original serene context in a rarely seen painting that will be a feature piece in an exhibition of the world’s largest collection of original and authenticated Banksy art. Coming direct from a successful run in London, the exhibit will showcase more than 140 pieces including hand drawn sketches on display for first time in Toronto, stencils used in wall graffiti alongside previously unseen artworks, prints, canvases and fascinating ephemera, The Art of Banksy returns to Toronto for a limited run at the Lighthouse Artspace on May 29, 2024

World’s largest touring exhibition features never-before-seen pieces from private collections across the globe

The Art of Banksy curator and producer, Michel Boersma, left, and Starvox Exhibits CEO Corey Ross, right, announce that a landmark art exhibition, The Art of Banksy is coming to Lighthouse Artspace at 1 Yonge Street, Toronto starting May 29, 2024. photo by Terry Lankstead

Live entertainment company, Starvox Exhibits, in collaboration with London-based GTP Exhibitions are presenting The Art of Banksy, a blockbuster exhibition that has gathered pieces from private collections across the globe to create the world’s largest touring collection of original and authenticated Banksy artworks, many of which are on display for the very first time. 

“The exhibit will feature not only Banksy’s iconic works but also some of his doodles and sketches, bringing the artist closer to anyone interested in walking into the world of Banksy,” said exhibition curator, Michel Boersma at the official press announcement at 1 Yonge.

Starvox Exhibits first presented The Art of Banksy to Canadian audiences in 2018 with a virtually sold-out presentation that went on to successful tours in Chicago, Boston, Washington, Denver, and San Francisco.

Starvox Exhibits CEO Corey Ross, the visionary force behind acclaimed, groundbreaking immersive experiences like “Immersive Van Gogh” and “Immersive Disney” says, “Banksy has become a topic for art critiques as well as a wider audience by combining art, intellectual thought, pop culture and activism. His commentary deserves to be experienced by as wide an audience as possible, and we are delighted to be bringing this collection back to Canada with a newly expanded collection of these iconic pieces.”

Starvox Exhibits CEO Corey Ross fields questions from Toronto media at Lighthouse Artspace. about The Art of Banksy Exhibition will feature 140 artworks along with some extra special exhibits.

Mona Lisa makes North American debut in Toronto!

Banksy’s Mona Lisa makes North American debut in Toronto!

The most expensive piece in this collection is Banksy’s Mona Lisa, a signed but previously unknown work that was originally bought directly from the artist by a Hollywood A-list actor, who is a personal friend of Banksy. The owner of this painting has been buying art direct from the artist and now boasts a collection that includes works specially commissioned for him that are unknown to the public. In 2022, he returned the Mona Lisa to Banksy who then developed the painting further to create a brand-new artwork that incorporated the original. This painting is on loan to The Art of Banksy collection for a limited time only. 

Considered a top work of the artist, this painting was first revealed to the general public and the artworld when exhibited at The Art of Banksy in London, Regent Street in September 2023. The Toronto presentation is notably the painting’s North American debut. Banksy’s Mona Lisa will go to auction in the near future and is expected to fetch a record price, after which it is also expected to be withdrawn from public display.

“Flower Thrower” exclusive

The Art of Banksy will also be presenting some extra special exhibits including a global exclusive – the first ever Flower Thrower. In 2003 Banksy unveiled Flower Thrower – also known as Love Is In The Air– for the first time, becoming one of the artist’s most recognizable works. However, Banksy had already created an initial artwork in 1997, depicting a man throwing a bunch of flowers, as a Valentine’s Day gift for his then girlfriend. The original Flower Thrower will be shown together with information about the origins of the image.

The Art of Banksy curator and producer, Michel Boersma , above, says, the exhibition coming to Toronto provides a deep dive into not only Banksy the artist, but also Bansky the person. “Many of these pieces have not been seen in public before and the experience of seeing them in person has resonated with audiences around the world.”

The Art of Banksy curator and producer, Michel Boersma adds, “We are grateful to the private collectors who have decided to share their authenticated Banksy pieces through this exhibit. Many of these pieces have not been seen in public before and the experience of seeing them in person has resonated with audiences around the world. This body of work is a great example of how real art does not need to be ambiguous and difficult, but it does need to be experienced to be fully appreciated”.

Major Banksy artworks

Banksy’s Girl with a Balloon will be presented in three different colour variations at The Art of Banksy exhibition opening May 29, 2024 in Toronto.

Visitors can also expect to see the seminal artworks that brought the infamously anonymous artist international notoriety such as Girl With Balloon in three different colour variations and Rude Copper alongside truly one-off pieces including stencils created and used by the artist, hand drawn sketches and personal works that Banksy created for friends, associates, and lovers. The exhibition also focuses on Banksy’s Dismaland with a new extended display of images as well as brand-new images acknowledging the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

Banksy’s Printer shares personal stories

New for Toronto and for the first time in North America, Banksy’s printer, who along with Banksy set up Pictures on Walls to sell street art and publish prints, shares personal stories giving unique insight into some of the world’s most famous images, engrossing background on how those headline-grabbing street art stunts were devised and how, with their irreverent wit and a biting political edge, this visionary took the art world by storm without ever revealing his identity. 

World’s most important current artist

In its new home in the Lighthouse Artspace at 1 Yonge Street, The Art of Banksy is an unmissable show for anyone who wants to learn more about one of the world’s most important current artist and what his work reveals today; the power of art to affect social change, inspire the public and lay bare the undercurrents of social issues. 

The Art of Banksy is not curated or authorised by the artist.

by Terry Lankstead with notes from Starvox Exhibits

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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