Works of British graffiti hero Banksy to be showcased in HK

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2008, 12:00am

Banksy is one of the best known and least known artists in England at present. The anti-establishment graffiti hero anonymously leaves satirical stencils on walls and embarks on guerilla art campaigns that make a mockery of the world of art and commerce. Some politicians say it's vandalism, while art collectors pay big money for entire walls just because he has spray-painted them.

Well, his subversive talent is about to go mainstream in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Art Centre and the Schoeni Art Gallery are presenting an exhibition of some of Banksy's originals and prints later this month. It will be part of a bigger display of contemporary works called Love Art running at the Art Centre from April 23 to 28. Among the works will be Banksy's Andy Warhol silkscreen parody with Kate Moss (above). Afterwards the exhibition, curated by Fabrik Contemporary Art, will move to Schoeni's on Old Bailey Street until May 13.

Of course, putting Banksy's irreverent stuff in galleries with a price tag on it is precisely the kind of institutionalism the mysterious artist thumbs his nose at. This is the same guy who once forged #10 notes replacing the Queen's face with Princess Diana's, placed 500 fake copies of Paris Hilton's CD in shops and put his version of the Mona Lisa with a smiley face on the wall of the Louvre.

But how long can you stay a rebel if the establishment wants to be your buddy? Naturally, Banksy won't be coming, or if he does, nobody will know what he looks like.