Banksy crashes Venice Biennale with street stall
Street artist Banksy appears to have turned up unannounced at the Venice Biennale, and may have even been kicked out of one of the city’s most famous piazzas for running a stall without a permit.
Banksy posted a short video on his verified Instagram account showing a man with a series of paintings depicting a huge cruise ship looming over the Italian city, before local police appear to move him on.
“Setting out my stall at the Venice Biennale,” reads the post accompanying the video, in which the man’s face remains obscured throughout. “Despite being the largest and most prestigious art event in the world, for some reason I’ve never been invited.”
The paintings allude to the controversy surrounding overtourism in Venice, with cruise ships a highly visible part of the problem.
Huge numbers of visitors continue to strain the infrastructure of the city, and there have been calls to ban cruise ships in recent years.
The final moments of the video show the stallholder wheeling away his wares; behind him, one such ship towers over a row of gondolas.
Despite his apparent chagrin at the lack of an official invitation, it appears Banksy may have been keeping himself busy in Venice. A mural in the British artist’s style appeared on a wall in the city, showing a child holding a pink flare aloft.
While observers have speculated as to who painted it, Banksy has not claimed the artwork, nor has it appeared on his official Instagram.
It appeared as the eyes of the art world turned to Venice during the Biennale, which runs from May 11 to Nov. 24.
One of the most striking exhibits this year is the wreck of a boat on which hundreds of migrants died when it capsized and sank off the coast of Libya. The project, titled “Barca Nostra” (“Our boat”), is the work of Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Büchel.