Vail Symposium presents Banksy & Beyond: The Rise of Street Art |

Vail Symposium presents Banksy & Beyond: The Rise of Street Art

Katie Coakley
Special to the Daily

VAIL — Fifty years ago, it would have simply been called graffiti. Over the past decades, though, the colorful murals, tableaus and portraits that appear in alleyways and on the sides of buildings worldwide have taken a different tone.

Now, street art is a considered a critical element in political commentary on current events. This is in no small part due to the elusive British street artist known as Banksy.

Banksy has become a cultural phenomenon in the 20 years since his work first appeared in Bristol, England. When he launched a self-proclaimed month-long residency in New York City in 2014, hordes of city-dwellers and tourists followed him around the city, eager to see his latest installation and hoping to catch a glimpse of the anonymous artist.

The NYPD similarly spent the month chasing Banksy around, trying in vain to capture and arrest the artist for vandalism. Though Banksy's identity remains a secret, his work is renowned world-wide and has brought awareness to the field of street art.

Today Bill Rey, owner of Claggett/Rey Gallery in Vail, will lead a discussion between Michael and RJ Rushmore (father and son, respectively) — two experts well-versed in street and contemporary art. Together they will define street art, including how it's different from other forms of contemporary art, and talk about the future of this field.

"The Vail area is home to many galleries and artists in different mediums, so we're excited to bring a program that discusses another art form — street art — to the community," said Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium. "It's also exciting to be able to utilize local experts like Michael Rushmore and Bill Rey for this program. It's going to be a fun evening."

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About the presenters

Michael Rushmore's interest in street art was originally ignited by random exposure to controversial images on the brick walls of East London. Unfiltered ideas presented in sometimes illegal work were exciting and current. This interest was further powered by a daily conversation on the topic, or walk down an alley, with the local expert who lived upstairs. Over a period of years, Mike's collection grew to include work by about 40 artists ranging from unknown vandals to those in carefully curated museums, including Swoon, Os Gemeos, JR, Fairey, Banksy and Haring.

RJ Rushmore has explored contemporary art as a writer, curator, photographer, arts administrator, critic and fan. His work focuses on street art, graffiti, public art and net art. He is editor-in-chief of the street art blog Vandalog and co-curator of Art in Ad Places. He has also written two books on street art and graffiti. He became a fan of street art alongside his father when they began collecting art and searching out street art together in early 2008. Since then, he has become deeply passionate about promoting disruptive art on the street, on gallery walls and online.


What: Banksy and Beyond: The Rise of Street Art.

Where: The Grand View, Lionshead Village.

When: Monday, Aug. 14; Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; presentation begins at 7 p.m.

Cost: $25 online before 2 p.m. on the day of the event, $35 at the door; $10 for students and teachers, town of Eagle and Vail Resorts employees.

More information: Visit or call 970-476-0954 to register.