The work of Banksy is famous all over the world. His elegant street art is often a satirical comment on the state of the world (capitalism, war) in easy to swallow and easy to follow images. It’s not surprising that the new Banksy Museum Moco in Amsterdam (open since 2016) is such a big succes among a young, international crowd.
Children hugging weapons of destruction, brightly coloured flowers thrown by a young protester, a girl reaching for a red ballon in the sky, Banksy’s message to the world is in black and white, with a touch of red. That the world in reality is a more complicated, might be a little more difficult to portray in spray-paint.
Banksy Museum in Amsterdam
The Banksy museum in Amsterdam, Moco, is the first to exhibit Banksy’s art in public in a museum set-up. Moco (which stand for Modern Contemporary Museum) wants to exhibit ‘accessible art’ for ‘a hip crowd’, the organisers explained in Dutch newspapers. And so Air is playing from the speakers and the rooms are packed with young tourists taking selfies.
The exhibition organisers are a Dutch couple who run an art gallery in the nearby art and antique area Spiegelstraat. They put the collection together lending Banksy art works from their art collecting friends and connections. The museum is open 7 days a week and they need at least 300 visitors a day to pay for the high rent.
Museum Square Amsterdam
The museum is housed in Villa Alsberg, a beautiful villa from 1904 on Museum Square. The house has wonderful details on the inside and outside, but the architect (a nephew of Rijksmuseum-architect Pierre Cuypers) certainly didn’t have an exhibition space in mind when he drew up the plans. The small, crowded rooms and narrow corridors, can make it feel little claustrophobic.
Now what would Banksy the political activist think of all this, is a question that comes to mind when you enter rooms themed ‘anti-capitalism’ and ‘weaponry’ and look at framed photos of street graffiti, ripped-out-of-the-wall pieces of wood with spray paint on it and buy your Banksy-bag at the souvenir shop on your way out. Well, the anonymous artist from England has not said anything about the museum, which was set up without his permission. The Banksy museum in Amsterdam, Moco, certainly gives you some food for thought.
Until November 2017 the Amsterdam Moco Museum also offers a temporary exhibit about the artist Salvador Dalí.
Moco Museum is open every day and located at Museum Square (Honthorststraat 20).
Tickets are €12,50 for adults. Get tickets online for Moco Museum and skip-the-line.
Entrance with Dutch Museumjaarkaart NOT FREE (€9,50)