One Thousand Ways opens the unauthorized and uncensored BANKSYLAND Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Filmworks this weekend.
You don’t know who Banksy is. I don’t know who Banksy is. No one but Banksy, seemingly, knows who Banksy is. That, however, has not stopped One Thousand Ways, a so-called “international experiential arts collective specializing in innovative immersive events throughout the globe” from developing and installing BANKSYLAND – The World’s Largest International Touring BANKSY Exhibit – around the world, and landing in Philadelphia this weekend.
Renowned for being “unauthorized” (though isn’t everything Banksy unauthorized?) and uncensored, BANKSYLAND is intended to be a look-see into the painter/graffiti artist’s controversial 25-plus year career. Supposedly a secret as to time and location (not really, it is September 2 through September 5 at Rittenhouse Filmworks, 219 W Rittenhouse Street kinda near Germantown Avenue in the 19144 zip code), BANKSYLAND will feature rarities, never-before-seen entities, and installations and salvaged street works, numbering something around 80 items of art and/or commerce.
The One Thousand Ways site states, “Perhaps the world’s most intriguing living artist, Banksy’s identity remains unknown. He is understood to have been born in Bristol, England in the mid-1970s. Emerging from Bristol’s graffiti and street art scene of the 90s, Bansky reached world wide acclaim, and infamy in the following decade after several high profile conceptual stunts, including the illegal placement of subversive pieces inside the art world’s most hallowed galleries, and perhaps his most famous prank; when Bansky installed an automatic shredder inside the frame of his iconic Balloon Girl painting, causing the piece to self destruct upon its sale at auction. Banksy’s most recognizable works are stenciled graffiti that combine mundane imagery juxtaposed with unexpected objects and slogans. Sometimes cynical, sometimes hopeful, Banksy’s work is decidedly political, taking aim at militarism, consumerism, capitalism, and greed. His iconic stencil pieces depicting rats, apes, and policemen have been spotted throughout the globe, drawing widespread attention wherever they appear. Banksy’s conceptual works and installations too, such as the dystopian theme park Dismaland, or Walled Off Hotel in Gaza and have provoked controversy and stimulated heated debate not only in the art world, but society at large.”
Whether that is all true or relevant is debatable. What isn’t debatable, however, is how Banksy has created a series of secrets that everyone wants to know the answers to. That’s an art form in and of itself.