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Unauthorized ‘Art of Banksy’ exhibition coming to Miami for Art Basel 2018

“The Art of Banksy,” a massive touring exhibition of 80 works by the British graffiti artist, is coming to the Magic City Innovation District in Miami this December for Art Basel week.

This is the U.S. premiere of the show, curated by British gallery owner Steve Lazarides, the elusive street artist’s former agent. As such, the globetrotting show (it’s already visited Toronto and Tel Aviv) brings rare access to Banksy’s stenciled-graffiti shenanigans, featuring original paintings, sculptures and screen prints paired with Lazarides’ photographs of early-career Banksy in action. The works are on loan from private collectors who bought the Banksy pieces when Lazarides represented the artist.

General-admission tickets for “The Art of Banksy” cost $35.99-$49.99 and will go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, via BanksyExhibit.com, with pre-sale passes on sale Tuesday for Citibank cardholders via CitiPrivatePass.com. General admission with an audio tour costs $39.99. Timed tickets, essentially an hourlong reservation with an audio guide, exhibition poster and a “visual guidebook,” are $49.99.

The exhibit opens Dec. 1 inside the 20,000-square-foot Magic City Innovation Studios, 6301 N.E. Fourth Ave., and while a closing date isn’t listed on the exhibit’s website, advance passes can be purchased through Feb. 28.

The show isn’t sanctioned by the notoriously anonymous artist, a Magic City Studios spokesperson said. That’s hardly surprising, given Banksy’s stance against charging admission to view his artworks. “I don’t charge people to see my art unless there’s a fairground wheel,” Banksy joked on Instagram in August, after a commenter posted about a similar unauthorized display in Moscow.

In an interview with the website Time Out, Lazarides confirmed as much, saying that he hasn’t spoken to Banksy in eight years, and didn’t seek his permission. “He probably f------ hates it,” Lazarides told the publication. “But I think [Banksy] genuinely belongs to the general public. He made himself public property […] and I haven’t taken anything off the street. I’ve just put a collection of works together for people to enjoy the art of Banksy.”

Nonetheless, the timing couldn’t be better. On Oct. 5, a clip of the satirical scamp and auction-house prankster partly shredding his $1.4 million artwork “Girl With Balloon” at Sotheby’s in London went viral. In a follow-up YouTube clip, Banksy suggested that the hidden shredder built into the painting’s frame unexpectedly jammed, and should have destroyed “Girl With Balloon.” (The buyer kept the partly tattered piece, since retitled “Love Is in the Bin.”)

Banksy’s thought-provoking early works form the bulk of the collection, including his tongue-in-cheek “Flying Copper” (2003), depicting a cop wearing riot gear and a pair of angel wings; his ubiquitous “Flower Thrower” (2003), showing a masked rebel preparing to throw a bouquet; and his World War II-inspired “Flag Wall,” which brought him U.S. fame when it debuted at Los Angeles’ “Barely Legal” exhibit in 2006.

The Magic City Innovation District is working with concert promoter LiveNation and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez to donate 50,000 tickets to all Miami-Dade County students and charities, a Magic City Studios spokesperson said. Schools and charities can apply for the giveaway via BanksyExhibit.com.

pvalys@southflorida.com or 954-356-4364

pvalys@southflorida.com or 954-356-4364

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