Thank you to The Art of Banksy San Francisco for inviting me and my husband to a media preview of this show. We enjoyed it A LOT as a date night and attempt to offer our advice to you, parent-to-parent.
Recommended for teens, adults, and subversive pre-teens with an anti-Capitalist sensibility, the Unauthorized Art of Banksy touring show in San Francisco is pretty great for its desired audience. For a limited time at the Palace of Fine Arts, we can all enjoy iconic street art in a gallery setting. As a date night, it was practically perfect.
What to Know About This Exhibit
There are over 100 original works on display. This traveling exhibit is the largest Banksy collection assembled in one place. If you’re a fan, it is quite special.
This exhibit is unauthorized. Banksy is not going to show up or make any money from what you spend in the gift shop.
The gallery path is a single-file maze through several rooms of paintings, prints, quotes, videos, and objects. You can also play a dozen 30-second explainer messages by keying numbers found on the wall into your free handheld audio tour device — finding them is like a scavenger hunt. The whole art experience was about 45 minutes to an hour.
Lots of insider info. One of Banksy’s close associates, Ben, appears throughout the exhibit in a handful of brief videos telling anecdotes and adding lots more vivid details to whatever you thought you knew. Ben has a mask on his wrist, so the stories feel recent. Additional quotes and factoids are written on the walls. There are references to happenings as recent as October 2021 — last month!
There are some fun photo opportunities at the end. This one (below) cracked me up. Another one encourages you to reach for the red balloon or the bouquet of flowers.
What Parents Need to Know about Banksy
Banksy is an anonymous, anti-capitalist, graffiti artist with a biting sense of humor. His art is eye-catching and imaginative, but if your child can’t handle police officers giving the middle finger, social commentary that bashes Disneyland, or ironic portrayals of Jesus — you best stay away.
When my ten-year-old looked at the photo above, he asked, “Why does that smiley face have a machine gun and wings?” What would your child say? And are you cool with that?
If your children are in middle school or high school and have been educated in that ultra-liberal Berkeley fashion, they’ll probably do fine.
Plan your visit to The Art of Banksy in San Francisco
- Days and Hours: Open November 22, 2021 – February 27, 2022, from 10 am to 8 pm except Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Location: Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco.
- Price: Adults $40, Children (6 to 16): $30, Under 5: Free.
- Parking: Free at the Palace of Fine Arts.
- Website for booking and more information >