Why is it that public galleries don’t collect paintings from popular artists, but go their own way with more esoteric artists promoted by curators and international galleries? Apparently there are no works by Banksy in a major public gallery in the UK, something Scottish artist Jack Vettriano has also had to endure – it was only seven years ago that one of his paintings went on show on a long term loan at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It is probably too late for Banksy – public galleries with their tight budgets may not any longer be able to afford him at his prices today – they should had been more imaginative when his work was affordable.
The major exhibition of his work from 2002 to 2008 is on show, ironically, in the refurbished Mayfair townhouse that is LazInc’s gallery space, where we now see the new first floor galleries up a finely restored staircase with smart new carpet and grand chandeliers. What does Bansky think of this luxury setting for his work? It seems an amusing contrast with his original street art sprayed on decaying buildings in Bristol and other cities.
Drawing on private collections, this retrospective includes many works which are well known such as Flower Thrower and Kissing Coppers, supplemented with works that are less well known, especially his sculptural works Homeless di Miro, Watchtower and Bullet Hole Bust and, yes, Jack Vettriano is here, along with many famous artists, with Banksy’s Beach Rescue.