Glasgow (PA Media/dpa) – Banksy’s first solo show to open in Glasgow this weekend – the artist’s first solo exhibition for 14 years.
The Cut & Run show, taking place at the Scottish city’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), has been officially authorised by the elusive street artist. It spans 25 years and will feature many of the stencils the artist has used to create work.
The exhibition opens on June 18 and runs for three months, opening all night at weekends. If it proves popular the show may then tour.
“I’ve kept these stencils hidden away for years, mindful they could be used as evidence in a charge of criminal damage,” Banksy said. “But that moment seems to have passed, so now I’m exhibiting them in a gallery as works of art. I’m not sure which is the greater crime.”
The show includes authentic artefacts, ephemera and the artist’s actual toilet. A number of unsanctioned exhibitions of the artist’s work have taken place around the world in recent years.
However Banksy said: “While the unauthorised Banksy shows might look like sweepings from my studio floor, Cut & Run really is the actual sweepings from my studio floor.”
Spanning from 1998 to the present day, the artist calls the exhibition “25 years card labour.”
Banksy said the traffic cone which famously sits on the head of the Duke of Wellington statue outside the gallery was behind the decision to exhibit there.
A gallery label for the show said: “For anyone who isn’t aware – the statue out the front has had a cone on its head continuously for the past 40-odd years. Despite the best efforts of the council and police, every time one is removed another takes its place.
“This might sound absurd and pretentious (just wait until you see the rest of the exhibition), but it’s my favourite work of art in the UK and the reason I’ve brought the show here.”
Pieces in the exhibition include the stencils for Girl With Balloon and Kissing Coppers. It also features a model explaining how the artist managed to shred Girl With Balloon during an auction at Sotheby’s in London in 2018.
The artwork hit the headlines when it partially self-destructed at the conclusion of an auction in which it had been sold for £1.1 million.
The canvas was passed through a secret shredder hidden inside large frame, leaving the bottom half in tatters and only a solitary red balloon left on a white background in the frame.
A stencil for a work that appeared on a damaged building in Ukraine, showing a female gymnast balancing, is also on show, as is the stab-proof Union Jack vest Stormzy wore when he headlined at Glastonbury in 2019.