Art Market

Banksy’s longtime agent, Steve Lazarides, is stepping away from the gallery world.

Wallace Ludel
Sep 9, 2019 3:38PM, via The Art Newspaper

Steve Lazarides at an exhibition of works by Banksy at Lazinc in 2018. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for KTW.

Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s former agent and the co-founder of Lazinc, the London gallery showing works by notable street artists including Banksy, Invader, JR, Rammellzee, and Vhils, is stepping away from the gallery world. Lazarides cited his frustrations with the scene’s current state of affairs, including the “snobbery of the art world,” as his reasons for stepping down.

He told The Art Newspaper:

I never fucking wanted to be a gallerist, I never wanted to sell fucking paintings. The only reason I did it was to promote a subculture that was being overlooked, and that’s gone now. [. . .] It’s got to the stage where [the gallery world] is about nothing other than monetary value and I just can’t work on those terms any more.

Lazarides, a trained photographer, said he fell into the art world by chance when he was commissioned to photograph Banksy’s portrait in 1997. In the following years, he worked with Banksy in many capacities, including as the anonymous artist’s driver and photographer, before eventually becoming his gallerist.

Lazarides also spoke to TAN about the increasing sense of hardship facing mid-size galleries in the age of the mega gallery, saying:

I maintain that 75 percent of galleries will be gone within five years. It’s too expensive. [. . .] The only way for them to keep going is from secondary market sales and there’s only a finite number of people who can be flipping Warhols and Basquiats.

Citing his desire to return to a time when affordability and accessibility were paramount, Lazarides said he’ll begin sifting through the roughly 12,000 photographs he took working alongside Banksy and selling them for prices starting at £450 ($553) apiece. He will also be publishing a book next month titled Banksy Captured, launching an art consultancy, and setting up a charity called Off Ends, intended to help introduce the art world to disadvantaged youth.

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Wallace Ludel
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