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Consent Denied. Banksy is NOT back in Michigan and Detroit Needs to Know Why.

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

While I really appreciate all of the messages about the Banksy show coming to Detroit you should know and understand why BANKSY DOES NOT APPROVE OF THIS.


Firstly, Banksy authorizes street art and fine art in two clear ways. Fine art is done via the website PestControl (referenced below) and street art is authenticated by a confirmation post on Instagram. Therefore, Banksy showing art on walls should always be a red flag. Any shows, installations or exhibits are very RARELY done traditionally (that is with "white walls, white wine, white people") and ALWAYS done with intention and mission (social work). This show is clearly not that. For example, in 2005 Banksy installed a piece of concrete in the British Museum's Roman Britain Gallery. The concrete piece depicted a crudely drawn, primitive caveman with a shopping cart in the foreground and a wounded buffalo in the background (pictured below). Even before then, starting in 2003, Banksy installed art on walls of the most prestigious museums in London and New York. Of course, it was with intention to attach a very specific message to such a large audience. So, always think thought how the art is shown and you will develop a process that will allow you to easily differentiate if it is a "real" Banksy.

Back to why you can easily tell the Detroit show is not real and should not be supported so that moving forward you will know what is real and what is not. First and most obvious, Banksy directly states:

Members of the public should be aware there has been a recent spate of Banksy exhibitions none of which are consensual. They‘ve been organised entirely without the artist's knowledge or involvement. Please treat them accordingly.”

Again, Banksy’s enter existence is to provide accessible, barrier-free, art in the public eye. Banksy does not charge fees and barely sells their own works. The few times Banksy has are again unusual and comical, look it up. Another red flag, paying. If you go to Harmonie Club on Grand River Ave and pay you are insulting the core of this creative practice. Banksy stands by important principles and you should too. Again, Banksy would never, ever do a traditional style exhibition in the format of an indoors “fine-art” show and charge you to get in.


Mind you, not just the show coming to The D but ALL EXHIBITS BY THIS COMPANY ARE NOT OKAY - MELBOURNE, TEL AVIV, AUCKLAND, TORONTO, MIAMI, GOTHENBURG AND SYDNEY. Now Detroit. And again direct from the artist:

I see a new exhibition of Banksy work has just opened, is it authorised? Nope. Banksy has NOTHING to do with any of the current or recent exhibitions and they are nothing like a genuine Banksy show. They might be crap so please don’t come to us for a refund. -Banksy

So what are these art works and who is organizing them? This is the work of Steve Lazarides (Laz) who used to manage Banksy and forged the advent of street art. Keep in mind, the two parted ways for obvious reasons. Laz is a Gallerist who understands the economics of the art world. In the management role, Laz did manage to collect originals and does in fact know the game. So, in the art game, what is one of the best ways for the art work(s) to gain value? Provenance and adding institutional “street cred” to piece(s). But keep in mind, the exhibition has more than 155 replicas of (prints, photos, sculptures and murals) with only a few pest-control certified originals. It's interesting because when the show traveled to Brussels in 2018, the works were removed from the Strokar Inside gallery and the show unauthorized show was cancelled. According to global news outlet Daily Mail, "a tribunal in Brussels, which ordered the seizures, said the works ‘appear to have been displayed without the permission of the legitimate rights-holders".

Why is this a complicated issue?

I understand that Banksy is our Dali, our Picasso and so we want to lay eyes on these works of art while the artist is alive (that rarely happens in art history where the artist historically has to die to be valued. Also, Banksy’s artwork is meant to protest against commercial incentives and for-profit capitalism and so paying to see the show directly supports that and undermines the artist. Would you want that done to your artistic process or precious works of art?

It’s complicated.

In Michigan the only accessible work to see by the artist was in Detroit and was REMOVED FROM THE STREETS (Packard Plant) and no longer easily accessed. It sat INSIDE 555 Gallery from 2010-2015. Also something Banksy does not want. Double whammy, it was sold in 2015 at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills for $137,500. Banksy works so hard to fight this system. Do not support the removal of (free) public works being taken indoors and especially to a gallery. Do not give your money to this exhibit. Not to mention, Banksy raises their own money in their own ways so it can be used for real-good, mission-driven purposes. The next layer that makes this complicated is then how do Midwest residents lay eyes ethically on a piece by the most famous artist today? The closest place for Michiganders and neighbors to see Banksy is far and costly to get to which is New Orleans, San Fran, Los Angeles, Park City and New York.

Alas, here we are. Will you be going to the secret venue?

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