Banksy breaks in to Chicago

Mon. August 16, 2021 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

An exhibit for the enigma known as Banksy, has finally arrived in Chicago at 360 North State Street on the fourth floor, after a previous venue and date change for the eagerly anticipated opening day. 

It features over 80 original works and is the world's largest collection of privately owned Banksy art. There are prints, canvasses, sculptures and displays throughout the 45,000 square foot space. The pieces come from the time period 1997 to 2008 and overall the exhibit has a strong '90s feel to it, added by the curated music playing throughout the various rooms. 

The name Bansky originates from the English goalkeeper Gordon Banks and was first tagged Robin Banx, which later evolved into Banksy. His identity is still shrowded in mystery and for those that like easy answers to a riddle, this is not the artist for you. Some believe he is Robin Gunningham from Bristol, but he's never come out of the closet publicly about his identity, if it is indeed him. Many will remember the stunt where his painting titled Girl with Balloon was shredded after being sold for $1.4 million at an auction. 

The Art of Banksy is a traveling exhibit previously seen in Toronto, where someone stole one of the pieces estimated at $34,000. Controversy continues to follow him, even until this day. In 2014, a hoax circulate that the graffiti artist had been arrested, but was later proven to be untrue. 

There are many art instillations to be viewed in the exhibit. The walls have been adorned with classic Banksy works, such as Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta using bananas instead of guns, inspired by the film Pulp Fiction and Dismaland, his classic take on Disneyland. 

One standout moment was an altered Paris Hilton CD displayed in a case. Back in 2006, Banksy digitally made Hilton topless and had performer Modest Mouse remix the album, then they distributed the compact discs in various locations, which later sold for a great deal of money. 

There is much more of his work with political themes along the black walls, in a maze of quotes and photo opportunities along the way. Don't get lost leaving the downstairs lounge as guests are expected to climb back up the stairs and take the elevator to the first floor to exit the building. 

Be prepared for long lines outside the building to enter the exhibit. Viewings are ticketed and spaced out, but visitors will most likely take their time strolling through the place. There is a VIP option to combat the line, but it may possibly break the bank at $99.99. The promotion does provide access to the third floor balcony and lounge and also includes a limited edition poster and souvenir laminate for ticket holders to take home. 

There are several levels of other ticket packages available with perks that can be found on the website, beginning with children ages six and above, at $29.99 and ending at the VIP Flex ticket higher price. Face masks are required at the exhibit and early arrival is suggested. 

The Art of Banksy runs through the end of October, with a possible extension coming, before the exhibit must travel on to another city. Visit to nab your tickets before Banksy leaves the building.