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Banksy’s first solo exhibition in 14 years opens in Glasgow this week

The artist's ‘CUT & RUN: 25 Years Card Labour’ show is staged at Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art

By Charlotte Krol

Banksy's stencil of a prisoner escaping on the side of Reading Gaol
Banksy's piece on the side of Reading Prison (Photo: Banksy/Instagram)

Banksy has announced his first official solo exhibition for 14 years, which is being staged at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art.

The exhibition titled CUT & RUN: 25 Years Card Labour opens this Sunday (18 June) and will feature work from across the graffiti artist’s career.

Banksy, whose identity remains unknown, has used original stencils to create new versions of many of his famous works including Kissing Coppers, which first appeared on a wall of the Prince Albert pub in Brighton in 2004.

Mobile Lover, which appeared in 2014 in Bristol where the artist is believed to be from, and shows a hugging couple who are both looking at their phone screens over the other’s shoulder, is also getting a rework for the exhibition.

Additionally, the exhibition will reveal the behind-the-scenes process of how Banksy makes his art.

Banksy's ‘Valentine’s Day Mascara’ artwork
Banksy’s ‘Valentine’s Day Mascara’ artwork. CREDIT: Banksy

He said in a statement [via the BBC]: “I’ve kept these stencils hidden away for years, mindful they could be used as evidence in a charge of criminal damage. But that moment seems to have passed, so now I’m exhibiting them in a gallery as works of art. I’m not sure which is the greater crime.”

Banksy previously organised the temporary art project Dismaland in a Somerset resort that closed in 2015. It was a collaborative project featuring more than 50 artists including Damien Hirst.

Other exhibits at CUT & RUN: 25 Years Card Labour include the Union Flag stab vest worn by Stormzy when he headlined Glastonbury Festival in 2019, and pieces previously only seen in the West Bank including a pillow fight between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian citizen.

2009 marked the last time that Banksy put on a solo exhibition. The Banksy Versus Bristol Museum show included a burnt-out ice cream van stationed in the museum’s main entrance hall, which played out a ghostly soundtrack while ice cream melted off the van’s roof.

Banksy has chosen Glasgow to host CUT & RUN because the Scottish capital has his “favourite work of art in the UK” right outside the venue: the 1844 statue of the first Duke of Wellington sitting on a horse with a traffic cone on his head.

The statue has had some variation of a cone placed atop by members of the public it for 40 years despite the efforts of the council and the police. It’s since become a landmark.

In other news, Banksy has reportedly bought a historic pub near to the Glastonbury festival site in Pilton, Somerset.