You missed it. On Saturday, Banksy set up a nondescript stall on the edge of Central Park, where he sold stencilled prints for $US60 a pop. The monkey with a sign, the guy with the flowers, the rat with the smirk — all the classics were there. Too bad nobody wanted them.
Over the course of the day, only three people bought prints from the old man watching over the stall, subtly labelled “Spray Art”. One woman bought two small canvases and bargained her way into getting a 50 per cent discount. (Careful there kids — each one of those is worth a year of college tuition!) A young woman bought a bigger canvas for regular price. Some lucky guy from Chicago bought four for his new house. He just wanted “something for the walls”.
All things told, The Guardian estimates, Banksy sold about $US225,000 worth of art for just $US420. (The entire stall was probably holding over $US1 million with of canvases.) It’s actually a great, sort of self-deprecating joke. The artist is more or less acknowledging the fact that, hype aside, his art doesn’t cost much to actually make. Even that $US60 price tag was probably too high, if you boil these pieces down to materials and labour. This contrasts with some of the other more in-your-face works in Banksy’s month-long show in New York City.
Of course, few people would have guessed that these were authentic Banksy works — not just because the artist is so high profile, but because New York City sidewalks are littered with people selling Banksy ripoffs. [The Guardian via FastCo]
Note: If you’re wondering whether you’re the proud owner of a legit Banksy piece, check out Pest Control, a site the artist recently set up to help verify authentic works.