THE ART OF BANKSY | London, Covent Garden

This unauthorised exhibition of a private collection of the world’s favourite secret artist may be small and subterranean, but helps us to appreciate the artist as a technician beyond the crowd-pleasing street graffiti for which he is best known.

The exhibition mostly focuses on small-ish prints of Banksy’s most famous works, with different colourings showcased side-by-side. It’s great to see the artful etches up close on an original print of “The Grin Reaper” (2005), hanging up next to a rushed chalk version of the same.

No bags are allowed in, nor are pens (nor paper). Nonetheless, a small graffiti tag in the toilet by a daring visitor seems to capture more of the spirit of Banksy’s art than this whole exhibition does. Quotable, punky aphorisms of Banksy’s adorn the walls, proving a particularly popular spot with visitors for an Instagram shoot.

Ticket prices are eye-watering at £22.50 for a 40-minute exhibition; ironically the complete opposite to Banksy’s art-for-all approach. With its one-way system, wholly unironic exit through the gift shop and large “NO READMITTANCE” signs, the whole thing feels more like a carnival sideshow than a gallery.

The Art Of Banksy is currently booking 20 May 2021 – 4 September 2022.

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