When news first spread that elusive street artist, Banksy, was showing an exhibit in Toronto, tickets sold furiously.
The exhibit, “The Art Of Banksy” is not sanctioned by the artist, but instead exhibited by his former agent Steve Lazarides – who also doubles as the show’s curator and publicist. Lazarides first met Banksy back in 1997 and is one of the few people who have photographed the artist. Lazarides continued to follow Banksy’s career by documenting his work and soon after became his manager. Their working relationship eneded over 10 years ago, but that didn’t stop Lazarides from creating a show without the artist’s consent.
The Art of Banksy first debuted in Melbourne in 2016. The artist was reportedly displeased with the event. The $35-million dollar exhibit features over 80 pieces, including screen prints, paintings and sculptures from 40 different collectors with no added interpretation from Banksy himself. Many of the works were from early in Banksy’s career, including pieces exhibited at ‘Turf Wars’ in East London in 2003 and ‘Barely Legal’ in Los Angeles in 2006. The exhibit opened its doors at 213 Sterling to Toronto’s media on June 12th for both a mid-day and evening preview of the artist’s work.
Within days of the exhibit being open, organizers noticed that a piece: Trolly Hunters, (valued at a whopping $45,000) was stolen from the exhibit. Law enforcement states that the theft of the piece was due to a break-in earlier in the week, when the show was getting set up. Police say that the burglar entered the event space through an interior door 5a.m. The burglar hid his face, took a single piece, and exited the event space. The piece in particular is said to represent Banksy’s thoughts on,” [mankind’s progression] towards a regression which sees ready-made meals available to the masses.”
The current whereabouts of “Trolly Hunters” are currently unknown.