Banksy vs Warhol

The curators of the Hospital Gallery have done well for attracting the crowd: their latest show presents, side by side, the coolest graffiti artist in London and the world’s king of Pop art. But what exactly are they trying to demonstrate? The best in street-wise artistry? the wittiest in popular print? Both artists do share a gift for subversion and Banksy pays tribute to Warhol in many of his graffiti, i.e the Marilyn-vignette style Kate Moss and the famous Campbell-turned-Tesco value-soup print. Using provoking, illustrative imagery to make bold statements about their world, both Warhol and Banksy have a similar, fresh approach to art and don’t need the use of critical supplements to provide the conceptual content of their message, which is a change from today’s contemporary art exhibitions.

However, as a whole, I found the comparative analysis rather weak and got out of the exhibition with a sense of emptiness. In other words, Warhol was, indeed, a major influence on Banksy and clearly stole the show. Parisian graffiti artist Miss-Tic would have been a better contestant to Banksy. Like him, she has moved from the street to exhibit her sensual and witty pochoirs in private galleries, has received commissions from designers such as Longchamp, Louis Vuitton and Kenzo and is now gaining international status. I recently discovered Vladimir Cruells (aka Le Sale Boulot), whose has been dubbed as the French own version of Bansky. His sharp, urban attitude would make a relevant contemporary show alongside Banksy’s irreverent graffiti this side of the Channel.

But then again, my humble curating opinions could be slightly biased…


~ by lavivette on September 1, 2007.

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