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Banksy: This Is Me Getting Booted From Venice Exhibit

No permit, no Biennale display
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2019 11:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Banksy claims he showed up to "the largest and most prestigious art event in the world" and was abruptly kicked out. An Instagram video shared by the British street artist's account Wednesday shows a man—whose face is never seen—setting up a collage of nine oil paintings in Venice's St. Mark's Square. "Setting out my stall at the Venice Biennale … For some reason I've never been invited," Banksy captioned the video, though it's unclear if he's actually the one being filmed. While passersby seem impressed by the canvasses, which when placed together present the image of a cruise ship, the stall-keeper is soon seen being evicted by authorities because he doesn't have a permit.

The paintings "allude to the controversy surrounding overtourism in Venice, with cruise ships a highly visible part of the problem," per CNN. A post at ArtNet News notes that much attention had previously been focused on a mural in Banksy's style that suddenly appeared on a Venice wall, showing a migrant child in a life jacket, holding a pink flare. (See it here.) "But it looks like we all missed the forest for the trees," adds the site, referring to the (maybe) appearance of Banksy himself. The 58th Biennale of Art opened to the public May 11 and runs until Nov. 24. (On the other hand, Banksy might be a woman.)

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