“Setting out my stall at the Venice Biennale.”

Banksy's subversive stunt against the world's most prestigious art event

In 2019, the notoriously controversial, Banksy, crashed the Venice Biennale in a tongue-in-cheek statement against his repeated exclusion, stating, “despite being the largest and most prestigious art event in the world, for some reason I've never been invited.” 

 

As the 59th Venice Biennale settles into new experiments for contemporary art in 2022, we remember those which have taken place just beyond the comfortable bounds of its iconic venues. 

 

The video documenting the stunt, posted to Bansky’s verified instagram account during the 2019 Biennale, was captioned “Setting out my stall at the Venice Biennale.” Before being shut down by local police, the display of paintings made a fierce statement against over-tourism and cruise ships in the Venice canals.

 

The final moments of the video show the anonymous stallholder wheeling away his wares; behind him, one such ship towers over a row of gondolas. This was no deterrent to Banksy’s mark-making on Venice’s civic landscape however, with a mural appearing on a wall in the city shortly after. Though the artwork - a painting of a child holding a pink flare - was never officially claimed by Banksy, speculators have decisively linked it to the British artist's style.

May 11, 2022