Experience 250 pieces in the new exhibit dedicated to the works and identity of the English artist in Rome
After “Banksy: A Visual Protest” ended in March, Rome’s Chiostro del Bramante is dedicating a second exhibit to the street artist with a mysterious identity in collaboration with Butterfly & David Chaumet-Butterfly Art News. Featuring 250 works from private collections, the exhibit invites us to discover, uncover and recognize Banksy and his sharp irony. An itinerary along the Bristolian artist’s works from 1999 to 2020 with special attention to the pieces that have become icons and on the artist’s values: projects imbued with social criticism and a rather pessimistic view of reality.
Mice, monkeys, child soldiers, a protest in images, coming back in full force in the Renaissance temple. More than a comeback, though, it’s a deeper analysis, original and encyclopedic, on the most-known unknown artist in the world. After the success of the first exhibition, the new one, “All About Banksy Exhibition 2” will be open until January 9, 2022.
A study in Banks
Everyone talks about Banksy. But what do you know about him, aside that he’s famous and his identity unknown? We’ve documented his career from the early 2000s, in the streets and the exhibits, and we’re now opening our archivesexplain curators Butterfly & David Chaumet — Butterfly Art News.
The Banksy phenomenon will blow you away and shock you, from his last piece on the walls of Reading jail, where Oscar Wilde was imprisoned, to denounce its degrade, to the multimillionaire bid of the piece Game Changer being sold for 16.75 million pounds raised in favor the British healthcare system. The itinerary at Chiostro del Bramante is well-spaced, ordered, and enlightening. The works are diverse, created with different techniques, and they are all contextualized.
Reimagining myths for social change
The best part of the exhibit may be the detailed study on Dismaland, the apocalyptic theme-park, definitely not suited for children, where an abandoned Disney-like castle and a rainbow Ferris wheel wrapped in plastic transform an amusement park into a bemusement park, the kingdom of uncertainty with clear nods to the contemporary themes like the environment, consumerism, and politics.
Then we meet Cosette, the protagonist of Les Miserables, next to the French embassy in London. On the ground, a can disperses a cloud of tear gas, making the girl cry. This is Banksy’s way of exposing the use of tear gas on the refugees in the Jungle camp at Calais. By clicking on the link in the QR code, you’ll be redirected to a video on the refugees’ conditions.
Banksy vs Warhol
Banksy refers to and distances himself from Andy Warhol. He transforms the popular quote by the Pop Art king “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,” into a visionary statement about the ever-present reality culture, written in color spray on a television screen: “In the future everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes.”
Soup Cans is another clear nod to the 1962 “Campbell’s Soup Cans” by Warhol. But, differently from his American predecessor, Banksy lashes out openly at the food industry, targeting Tesco supermarkets.
The first graffiti Banksy created in Italy, back in 2004, is powerful and iconic. It takes us to Naples — coincidentally, also a muse for Warhol — but the subject is completely different. We see an ecstatic Madonna with a weapon pointed at her like a mirage; she invites us to think of the social contradictions of a city where a strong religious piety lives side by side with criminality.
Cinderella’s broken dream
Banksy’s encyclopedia includes yet more of the enchanted world of fairytales. He borrows from it to warn us of the risks that come with fame. Lady Diana’s princess life ended in tragedy, surrounded by paparazzi, as we are reminded by the upside-down Cinderella, smashed by her own magical pumpkin carriage.
The unfaltering little girl with the heart-shaped red balloon that first appeared on London walls in 2002, later used for the “Stand with Syria” campaign, is beside the iconic “Love is in the air.”
Banksy and Blur
As we head towards the last section of the exhibit dedicated to the street artist’s collaborations with musical personalities, we leave you with the assignment to uncover the mystery of the Barely Legal manifesto from 2006. The inspiration for it came from a photograph by Annie Leibowitz of Demi Moore, 28 and pregnant with her second child. Among these posters, covers, books and CDs, we glimpse a Banksy like we’ve never seen before, as three videos invite the public to relive the most meaningful moments of his career.
ALL ABOUT BANKSY EXHIBITION 2 is open to the public daily, Monday-Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm (the ticket office closes one hour prior). Special opening days on June 2, June 29, August 15. For info and booking, call + 39 06 68 80 90 35.
Till January 2022
Chiostro del Bramante
Via Arco della Pace, 5 (Centro Storico)
Monday – Sunday 10am-9pm
Monday to Friday = ticket € 15
Saturday and Sunday = ticket € 18 (purchase must be made online within the previous day)
5-10 years old = ticket € 10
+ 39 06 68 80 90 35