Is Banksy too Mainstream Now?

Banksy - Graffiti is a crime (NYC)


Is Banksy too Mainstream Now?

(Banksy Visiting Stockholm)


Apparently, the famous English street artist, Banksy, is visiting Stockholm later this week. A great event for all street art lovers, but there was something partially unusual with the announcement of this happening. To starters, a letter was sent to the Swedish Television’s (SVT) Cultural Editorial Board, announcing the time and place of the event. The letter entitled “Banksy in Stockholm: This must be the place,” confirmed the show would be the artist’s “first official unofficial exhibition in Sweden”.


Banksy’s Letter to the Swedish Television

Besides the location and the time of the event, preciously little has been revealed around the event, of course, fully in line with the script. The element of surprise is very crucial here, just as it’s always been for Banksy, who is careful to avoid revealing his true identity.


A Stockholm Billboard announcing Banksy’s show this coming Sunday (via HL Store’s Facebook page)

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Shop Until You Drop by Banksy (copyright QuentinUK, Wikipedia Common)


Thus, maybe a bit unusual way for an announcement, but pretty cool nonetheless. However, later in the day a picture appeared on social media of a billboard from the Stockholm streets announcing the same event, which might be a tad more unheard of in the street art scene. But the tendency has been there for a while, street art is going more and more mainstream, and a big part in that has been played by Banksy himself.

Just very recently in Berlin, during an alternative tour of the city, the topic also came up. The notion that Banksy’s commercially leaning efforts are not fully appreciated by the general street art community was a part of the discussion, partially because street art usually is indeed more associated with the underground scene and less with the cultural unit of state-run television companies. Thus, it is an interesting topic to discuss and reflect over. What place does the artist hold in the alternative culture community?

What is important to keep in mind here is that Banksy has always been conscious of socially important issues. As recently as last week, there was a worldwide campaign to raise awareness for the Syrian crisis on the third anniversary of the outburst of the conflict there, and one of Banksy’s pieces was a symbol used for the campaign.

READ MORE: Banksy Artwork Projection on Rijksmuseum for Syria

Thus, the case is clear that a fame of this kind can be used for achieving more than just creating a piece of art, and at the end maybe the sacrifice of “becoming mainstream” outweighs the fact that by channeling your fame correctly, you can make an impact on society. Where do you stand? What’s your view on it? We’d be curious hearing your opinion.

READ MORE: Banksy in New York

The Banksy exhibition will take place this coming Sunday, March 23rd, between 1pm – 4pm on Hudiksvallsgatan in Stockholm. If you’re around, show up, take a look, it’ll likely be another memorable ‘guerilla’ performance by the Bristol-born artist. Mainstream or not.

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About The Author: Pal Ujvarosi

One half of the team behind Art Weekenders, where we travel, produce and keep developing our concept. For a living I work with management accounting, for dreaming I delve into many other areas of travel, writing and entrepreneurship, which more often than not don't result in money. Yet... I gained life experiences from living in eight different countries. Combined with extensive travelling in some fifty more, it's fair to say that I'm a global citizen with an international perspective - with the corresponding curse of becoming fairly rootless. My happy base now is Amsterdam - a faith I'm totally comfortable with.