Banksy gets wanked in show at Las Vegas’ Art Bar


Whatever you may think of graffiti mysterioso Banksy–innovative, guerrilla artist or over-hyped aesthetic opportunist–there is little doubt that the stencil king has had a serious impact on the contemporary art world with his legendary street art and obsessive identity obfuscation.

Las Vegas artists Brian and Jennifer Henry certainly have their own opinions about the Bristol, U.K.-based artist, and soon the Vegas art world will gain some insight into those when their latest original show, “Wanksy,” debuts at Art Bar (1511 S. Main St.) on Nov. 2.

“Unlike Banksy’s exploits—which we would argue are exclusively about the artist and not about the subject matter he claims to be addressing—‘Wanksy’ is not about Banksy,” says Jennifer Henry. “It’s about his fans and their reverence for him, the art world and their celebration of him. It’s about the hypocrisy of his popular culture criticisms, the lack of critical reflection on the part of his admirers and about deconstructing the mythology that he/his fans/the art world has built up around him.”

According to a press release issued by the couple, the Banksy-inspired location will explore a number of the stenciler’s themes by aping his own style, to the point of manipulating his most recognizable works. Their pieces will include works inside and outside the Art Bar, which has hosted a different artist’s work on a rotating basis since its opening a few years ago. And unlike the legendary artist at which “Wanksy” takes a shot, visitors can actually meet and talk to these creators.

“We’ll be there, because for us, the show is about the art, not some sort of ‘Where’s Waldo?’,” Jennifer Henry says. “It’s an art show, we made the art, we’re okay with people knowing it was us because really, that’s the least important aspect and we don’t want to waste people’s time and energy trying to figure that out. They’ll need all their time and energy to think about the art—or not—it’s their choice.”

Brian Henry was named “Best Artist” in Las Vegas Life magazine’s “100 Best of the City” in 2005. Jennifer Henry is a local arts and entertainment journalist and editor of the First Friday Newsletter. The couple previously owned and ran capital h gallery in downtown Las Vegas’ Arts Factory. More information about the exhibit and the artists can be found at

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