06 November 2018

Phillips Announces

Banksy: Who’s Laughing Now?


A Selling Exhibition in Hong Kong Dedicated to Banksy the

Iconic Street Artist


17 November – 7 December 2018

HONG KONG – 6 NOVEMBER 2018 – Phillips’ upcoming exhibition, Banksy: Who’s Laughing Now?, is set to transform the Hong Kong galleries in the St. George’s Building from 17 November to 7 December 2018. Presenting 27 works by the anonymous street art revolution known as Banksy, the selling exhibition will include significant and previously unseen artworks. Ranging from prints to unique works, the exhibition presents a variety of works at a range of price points. The exhibition coincides with Phillips’ Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art on 25 November in Hong Kong, which will offer two portraits of Abraham Lincoln, executed after the series of New Orleans murals that Banksy created in 2008 as commentaries on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Banksy’s work of the past two decades has drawn a litany of both praise and controversy, and nowhere is his simultaneous appeal and notoriety more present than in Laugh Now, 2002. Comprised of his signature means of urban expression – namely board spray-painted with his own stencil designs – the present work perfectly encapsulates Banksy’s modus operandi while conjuring the dark thematic elements that underlie such a comic piece. Ten monkeys stand side-by-side, full frontal and unashamed to display their sandwich-board messages, with six communicating, “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.”

Banksy’s history as a street artist and his efforts to conceal his identity make his artistic figures his only interactive surrogates. Bearing this in mind, the monkeys upon the panel in Laugh Now not only assume an anarchistic quality – promising full revenge upon their rise to power – but also make for a fascinating study into the future of street art. And, as his exhibition spaces shift from urban alleyways to galleries, Banksy paints a fascinating commentary on the current state of contemporary art. Indeed, the art of Banksy was once perceived as nothing more than vandalism with style, yet he is now recognised as the world’s foremost street artist. In terms of his clairvoyance, perhaps no work is more prescient than Laugh Now.

Miety Heiden, Deputy Chairman and Head of Private Sales: “The works highlighted in this exhibition illustrate the artistic achievements of Banksy over the last two decades. A visionary and trailblazer at the forefront of street art since the 1990s, Banksy has dedicated his career to challenging society’s perception of fine art versus street art. This unprecedented exhibition will include the artist’s six-metre wide Laughing Now, and Girl with Balloon, AP Gold, among other iconic works.  Banksy has been propelled to the forefront of today’s art market and we look forward to sharing these works with both new and longstanding admirers of his work.”


Banksy first turned to graffiti as a miserable fourteen year old disillusioned with school. Inspired by the thriving graffiti community in his home city, Bristol, Banksy's works began appearing on trains and walls in 1993, and by 2001 his blocky, spray-painted works had cropped up all over the United Kingdom, becoming instantly recognisable. His aesthetic is clean and instantly readable due to his knack for reducing complex political and social statements to simple visual elements. His graffiti, paintings and screenprints use whimsy and humour to satirically critique war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed, all of which are explored in the works to be included in this important exhibition.


Banksy: Who’s Laughing Now?

Exhibition: 17 November – 7 December 2018

Public Viewing: Monday – Friday 10:00 – 18:00

Location: 14/F St. George’s Building, 2 Ice House Street Central Hong Kong




Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world.  In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services.

Visit www.phillips.com for further information.


PRESS CONTACTS:                        

HONG KONG - Rhonda Yung, PR Consultant                                            RhondaYung@phillips.com      +852 9800 2629

LONDON - Katie Carder, Head of Press, Europe                                      kcarder@phillips.com                 +44 20 7901 7938

NEW YORK - Jaime Israni, Senior Public Relations Specialist             jisrani@phillips.com                    +1 212 940 1398


PHILLIPS HONG KONG -  14/F St. George’s Building, 2 Ice House Street Central Hong Kong

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