News of faculty

23 Apr 2013

Street Art for sale

On the 18th of April, a master class by the gallerist Steve Lazarides was given as part of the «Art-management and gallery business» RMA program, in association with the British Council.

Steve Lazarides is one of those who had led the way for many of today's successful street artists, that until recently had been rather reluctantly admitted into the ranks of officially recognized art. From 1998 to 2010 he had served as an agent for Banksy - the most famous street artist in the world today. Their close association allowed Steve to enter the art scene and achieve the status of successful art entrepreneur. But even at the pinnacle of their cooperation none of them had really understood exactly how much success they were about to reach.

According to Steve, the majority of Western galleries, that are now exhibiting the works of street artists, such as Jonathan LeVine Galley in New York, were discovered by the people who themselves had the direct link with the street art community. The street art is generally considered to be the art for the masses, as it is presumed to be understood by the broad segments of society. That is why, according to Steve, the works of artists such as Banksy are enjoying such popularity today. It is reasonable to expect for a street art event held in UK today to gather 20 - 30 thousands visitors. Which is a testimony of never dying love of ordinary people toward street art - and the guarantee of its ever growing success.

During his Moscow presentation Steve talked about organizing some of Banksy's large exhibitions: remarkably, they were all self financed. These were rather performances of sorts, which were aimed at attracting and entertaining the public by exhibiting the kind of works that no one would expect to see. During the preparation for one such exhibition, Banksy had asked Steve Lazarides to find him 200 live rats: they were literally running around the exhibition hall, and the public had to sign the disclaimer that they acknowledge all the risks of attending the event before they would be granted entrance. One of the key performances by Banksy, which Lazarides helped organize, was the exposition titled Barely Legal that took place in Los Angeles back in 2006. The show was attended by more than 60 thousand visitors, all the works by the renowned British artist were quickly sold out to the Hollywood celebrities, and Banksy himself had made millions from it.

Now in the galleries of Lazarides you can see exhibits by over several dozen of different artists, half of which have exclusive partnership with him, with about 10 more that Steve represents exclusively in UK, another 20 that are working with Steve on the experimental basis, and just as many more that have a reproduction distribution agreements signed with him. The way he discovers new talents is mainly through the artists or from the letters that are often sent to his galleries. Internet on one hand really helps to advertise and promote the artists, but on the other, it adds the galleries more work, which is necessary in order to provide the artists extra selling opportunities, beyond just a gallery floor.

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