Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Venice Biennale, May 2019


Venice Biennale
Venice, May 2019

“Despite being the largest and most prestigious art event in the world,
for some reason, I’ve never been invited.”


On 22 May 2019, Banksy posts a short video on his Instagram account stating
“setting out my stall at the Venice Biennale.”
Indeed, the minute-long video shows a concealed man setting up what looks like an installation of various framed oil paintings in the street, on the sidewalk, amongst other artists and souvenir vendors for tourists. This selection of “Venice in Oil” seems like a right fit for the romantic city, populated by various gondolas.
However, upon closer examination, or rather taking a better look at the installation as a whole, this peculiar group of paintings, when assembled, portrays some horrific vision of a giant cruise ship moving through the Grand Canal and obviously marring the historical and romantic landscape of Venice.


And this horrific vision is actually true! As a city that relies heavily upon tourism to sustain its economy, Venice has long had a battle with cruise ships. The city has been battling with cruise ship companies for years over their desire to park their largest boats in the historic center. While this might make it easier for tourists to visit the city, it is extremely damaging to the environment. While the city has announced legislation that keeps the largest ships at the docks further afield, it will take several years for the laws to go into action.
Unfortunately for Banksy, his stall was short lived. Authorities quickly came to check his permits and asked him to move along, but the point had already been made: Banksy had already shared his message with the world and, despite the fact that it was not in the Biennale, undoubtedly garnered much more attention than any of the works actually featured at the event.