As you probably already know, the enormously successful Banksy: Genius or Vandal? exhibition has been touring the globe, captivating audiences across 15 different countries—and now it’s finally here on L.A. shores.
This comprehensive exhibition will give you a rare glimpse of the artist’s mysterious universe, showcasing a private collection of over 80 authenticated artworks by the illustrious (and elusive) iconoclast. There’ll be everything from sculptures, videos, photos, original works, limited edition silkscreens and even large-scale frescos presented on the very walls they were painted on. From these, we’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most iconic Bansky works you simply cannot miss.
1. “Love is in the Air”
This stenciled work, also known as “Rage, the Flower Thrower,” initially appeared in large format in Jerusalem in 2003 on the wall separating Palestine from Israel. It shows a masked young man on the verge of throwing a bouquet instead of a Molotov cocktail. It subsequently appeared on the wall of a gas station in Bethlehem (West Bank), representing a powerful call for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It feels more relevant than ever this year, and you’ll get to see the silkscreened work up close at Banksy: Genius or Vandal?.
2. “Girl with Balloon”
The ubiquitous “Girl with Balloon” is instantly recognizable and has been reproduced in every conceivable form, including a tattoo on Justin Bieber’s arm. As if it wasn’t already iconic enough, a framed copy of the artwork notoriously self-destructed at a Sotheby’s auction, further securing its place in art history and the public consciousness. A limited-edition print this iconic Bansky work will be on show at Banksy: Genius or Vandal? in L.A., depicting a little girl in black and white, losing grip of a red heart balloon. While there have been numerous variations, all with strong political messages, this remains the most striking.
3. “Devolved Parliament”
“Devolved Parliament” is perhaps the most popular Banksy work that doesn’t exist on a wall. Instead, it’s presented in one of the most traditional formats: oil on canvas. Unlike any ordinary parliament, the entire assembly is made up of primates—a direct statement on the House of Parliament’s handling of Brexit. The 2.50m x 4.20m unframed painting is considered the largest work on canvas by Banksy and you’ll get to marvel at the incredible details of an official reproduction at Banksy: the Immersive Expo, this summer in L.A.
4. “Chocolate Donuts”
This satirical piece is another rare Banksy work that was initially produced on canvas in a pink colorway (or “strawberry”). It portrays a procession of police officers escorting a food truck with an oversized chocolate doughnut atop. The image can be seen as a complex criticism of military corruption and capitalism in America. The monochromatic motorcade earnestly guards the sugary treat, bringing into question the misplaced values and ethics of Western society. Draw your own conclusions and allow this to spark a discussion when you view one of the most iconic Bansky works in person at the Banksy: the Immersive Expo, this summer in L.A.
“Napalm” or “Can’t Beat That Feeling,” reinvents one of the most poignant pictures in history, Nick Ut’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Terror of War,” which was taken during the Vietnam conflict. In the original heart-wrenching image, Vietnamese children are photographed while fleeing from napalm blasts in 1972 with a bare and terrified girl (Kim Phuc) as the focal point. Banksy’s recreation depicts the girl with the iconic characters Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse on either side of her, clutching her wrists. It creates a shocking contrast of realities while commenting on the destructive effects these glorified chains have on the foreign lands they occupy. This arresting print will be exhibited at Banksy: the Immersive Expo, this summer in L.A.