Fashion retailer GUESS was forced to shut their Regent Street outlet on 18 November, a few hours after Banksy posted the following message on Instagram: “They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?”
In November 2022, Guess announced their collaboration with Brandalised, a company that specializes in selling licenses for popular images to international retailers. This wretched use of Banksy’s art is possible thanks to an unfavourable ruling at the EUIPO – European Union Intellectual Property Office – in May 2021.
There are two types of unauthorized Banksy exhibitions; the ones with 100% fake reproductions and those with 100% authentic pieces. The exhibitions with authentic works are unauthorized by the artist, but well-curated displays of special edition screen-prints, canvases and other unique material, all with Certification of Authenticity issued by Pest Control together with high-quality ephemera.
One of these exhibitions is “Art of Banksy”, last seen in Covent Garden in London and Washington DC. (The Art of Banksy was initially curated by former agent Steve Lazarides.) The other ones are “Banksy – the Art of Protest”, – previously labelled as “Genius or Vandal?” and “Building Castles in the Sky”, last seen in New York and curated by Andipa. The three of them source their pieces from serious long-term collectors. One can assume they are not very popular with the Banksy camp, but nevertheless, they are honest and well-executed exhibitions.
On the other side: there are several ongoing exhibitions around the world with 100% fake artwork, squeezing out the exhibits mentioned above. Typically these fake exhibits consist of bad reproductions of street art and shoddy copies of his most iconic canvases and screen prints. The organizers often promote the fake studio pieces as being authentic. To make it even more fake and confusing, one of these shady operators has copied the name of The Art of Banksy from the exhibit mentioned above.
The photos are from the 100% fake exhibit World of Banksy in Barcelona, still open at Espacio Trafalgar in the centre of the city: