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Banksy: Genius or Vandal? exhibition invades Vegas

Stories Debbie Hall
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Covering one of the most controversial and influential artists of this time, the unofficial exhibition Banksy: Genius or Vandal? brings together more than 70 works from private, international collections displayed in Las Vegas for the first time. Original works, sculptures, videos, photographs, and other installations create themes from the mind and heart of the mysterious influencer.

An anonymous street artist, political activist, and film director, Banksy creates debate and controversy with his messages. His art combines graffiti with a stenciling technique using a canvas of exterior walls, bridges, and streets. The artist challenges the status quo with social and political commentaries using dark humor.

Bansky, who is based in England, started out in the Bristol underground art scene in 1990 and expanded his work over the decade traveling around the world and creating his art. He presented his first US exhibition in Los Angeles in 2002.

His documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010. When Banksy was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2011, there were rumors that he would show up on stage if he won the award. (He didn’t.)

The ambiguity of his identity has intrigued the public and created a following within the art community. The “Banksy effect” refers to street art being incorporated into mainstream culture. The genius of Banksy’s art is that it’s funny, grim, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at once. It can make you laugh or cry.

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