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October 13, 2013 11:42 PM   Subscribe

Last Saturday this guy was selling canvases of "spray art" from a Central Park sidewalk stall for 60 bucks each. He sold seven of them.

Turns out he wasn't the real artist.
posted by progosk (122 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Things that are even better than money
posted by Bwithh at 11:48 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, the last guy must be really bummed: now he has to hide all four in a vault and go find something else for his walls.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:59 PM on October 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Surely someone recognised they were either Banksy jobs or good copies? In New York? Bloody clueless Central Park tourists.
posted by Decani at 12:12 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like the seller; I hope he received a canvas for his participation.
posted by taz at 12:18 AM on October 14, 2013


Surely someone recognised they were either Banksy jobs or good copies? In New York? Bloody clueless Central Park tourists.

Fuck this mindless classist shit. I know it's been normalised and everything, and it's socially acceptable, but it's gross and ugly and bigoted.

It's also just flat out wrong to suggest that wealthy high-status professionals would "pass" this test and schlubs from flyover states wouldn't. At least, rich white people didn't give a shit when Joshua Bell played in the subway.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:28 AM on October 14, 2013 [48 favorites]


Not that I think that stopping and buying this ugly, overexposed, overly obvious art was the "right" decision.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:29 AM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


What... is even the point of this? That some people on the sidewalk saw something they thought was cool for the first time and bought it? Is this a horrible thing? What? WHAT??
posted by stoneandstar at 12:42 AM on October 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'd have walked past, idly thought that somebody's trying to make money with Banksy prints, and moved on. I suspect this would be a rather common reaction.
posted by dhoe at 12:46 AM on October 14, 2013 [46 favorites]


Yeah, exactly. I'd have said: Hey, cool Banksy knockoffs. But I don't need Banksy knockoffs hanging in my place. Is there some reason I'm supposed to have instantly realized these were Banksy canvases which I could buy a lot of and resell for big bucks?
posted by Justinian at 12:48 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


What... is even the point of this?

Ironic social commentary.
posted by walrus at 12:50 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was totally just about to say just that same thing. I would have recognized the style, but wouldn't have ever thought that it was the real guy, I suspect. Actually, it took me a minute even looking at the freaking website to realize it was him and that this wasn't something about somebody pretending to be him for an art project, with the post framing being what it was.
posted by Sequence at 12:52 AM on October 14, 2013


Oh, I think this is amusing, I'm not complaining. But some people seem to be sneering at the rubes. I do not at all think that's the point. It's just Banksy being fun.
posted by Justinian at 12:57 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's also just flat out wrong to suggest that wealthy high-status professionals would "pass" this test and schlubs from flyover states wouldn't.
posted by dontjumplarry at 8:28 AM on October 14


I didn't suggest that. You pulled this bizarre assumption that Native New Yorker = "wealthy high-status professional" and "New York tourist" = "schlub from flyover state" entirely out of your arse, and if you're going to pull knee-jerk bullshit like that you ought to consider dealing with the log in your own eye before you go slinging that word "bigoted" around.

What I did was make a tongue-in-cheek "bloody tourists" joke, as someone who many might regard as the biggest bloody New York tourist on this site. Am I really going to have to go back to posting smilies?
posted by Decani at 1:14 AM on October 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


[Cool it folks. Maybe don't go directly to attacking each other, and also realize that what's a joke in your head doesn't necessarily read that way in text on a screen. But basically, just cool it?]
posted by taz at 1:18 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Correction: he sold eight - the first customer haggled the price down by 50%.

Technically, this is Banksy trolling the art world, which values each of his works between tens and hundres of thousands of $/£/€ each.

The best thing is that even passers-by who knew Banksy (see dhoe, Justinian, Sequence above) would have thought these were just knock-offs and walked on. The only way this could have failed was if someone had guessed right, and bought up the whole lot - at whch point Banksy would likely not have published the incident (in fact I suspect he would likely have had a script ready for the eventuality).
posted by progosk at 1:21 AM on October 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


The best thing is that even passers-by who knew BLANK would have thought these were just knock-offs and walked on.

Which does not explain why there are so many fake Gucci handbags and Rolex watches in the world.
posted by three blind mice at 1:23 AM on October 14, 2013


Ho ho ho, that Banksy. Don't ever change.
posted by chavenet at 1:25 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now, had these been Gauguins I would have bought 5 or 6.
posted by bz at 1:26 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


and to think that one could probably make decent coin off those Authentic Discarded Zapstraps on eBay. What a fucking artworld we live in.
posted by mannequito at 1:27 AM on October 14, 2013


bz: "Now, had these been Gauguins I would have bought 5 or 6."

The seller looks a bit like Gaugin.
posted by chavenet at 1:27 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Normally, sure, I would assume these were fakes. But Banksy's doing some kind of month-in-New-York residency, right? For me, at least, this would have rung a few bells, and I might have bought one for $60 as a slightly risky investment.
posted by Bugbread at 1:28 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Damien Hirst is trying to up banksy next year. He's making a video game and has already signed a deal with Activision. The working title for the game is "For The Love Of COD"
posted by hellojed at 1:41 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Right. So now it is time for The Met to hold a dryly curated exhibition comprising Chinese Dali copies, Matisse fridge magnets, magic eye pictures of Einstein, brass Statue of Liberty key chains, caricatures of Michael Jackson and Jack Vetrianno originals.
posted by rongorongo at 1:48 AM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


(Adding another little layer to the piece, as noted by Gothamist, the stall may actually have been set up right near where he had his portrait drawn a couple of years ago.)
posted by progosk at 2:13 AM on October 14, 2013


Based on the title of the post and the name "spray art," I thought this was going to be bodily-fluid based. I still can't decide if I'm disappointed.
posted by Ducks or monkeys at 2:19 AM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


The other thing is, I don't go to Central Park to buy art. I wouldn't have $60 on me. If I had even stopped to look at these (and I was running a marathon elsewhere on Saturday, so I wasn't in Central Park), I wouldn't have thought about the artist or bought one.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:41 AM on October 14, 2013


I'd have walked past, idly thought that somebody's trying to make money with Banksy prints, and moved on. I suspect this would be a rather common reaction.

Yeah, exactly. I'd have said: Hey, cool Banksy knockoffs. But I don't need Banksy knockoffs hanging in my place. Is there some reason I'm supposed to have instantly realized these were Banksy canvases which I could buy a lot of and resell for big bucks?


Thats the point I think. You get a lot of Banksy copies being sold in markets, especially in London. Banksy is trying to sow confusion in the art markets, where whether or not something is an 'original' is inexplicably supposed to matter.
posted by memebake at 3:17 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


An original Banksy for $60? Still overpriced.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:33 AM on October 14, 2013 [19 favorites]


I thought this was going to be that thing where a guy puts paint in his butt and then forcefully evacuates it onto canvas

And I was like "augh, god"

Then I saw it was Banksy rip-offs and you might not believe how relieved I was
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:38 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've bought a lot of street art when I still lived in New York. The only reason I don't as much in Atlanta is because I honestly just have no more room on my walls. If you told me up front these were Banksy prints, I still wouldn't have bought one because they don't really look that interesting.

I get that he's super trendy and the "in the know" folks all love him, but like others said, seriously, what is the point here? To any of this? That the majority of people don't know by its face the work of a popular studio artist? And?

The idea that he's "trolling the art world" isn't really clever to me; it's insulting. There are countless street artists who actually are just trying to make a living and think their work is worth what they're asking for it- probably a lot more. How nice for Banksy to have the luxury to brag that his work is overvalued.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:55 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Heh. I bought a Banksy print (not canvas) before he was really famous outside the street art circles I've never moved in. I just liked the picture. Unsigned, which is what I bought, was £36. Signed, even then, it was £220. I gave the picture to my brother for Christmas right after I bought it. I remember finding it ironic that the frame cost more than the picture.

Like memebake says, you can buy Banksy canvases all over London. I totally would have walked straight by someone selling Banksy canvases for £60.

I like the games Banksy plays with the art market. But nonetheless he kinda is in the system rather than outside it - £220 in 2003 was still a chunk of change for a signed print from largely unknown artist.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:56 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR: I'm not sure the concept of street artists 'trying to make a living' makes any sense. If you spray things on walls, you're not doing it to try and make a living.
posted by memebake at 4:06 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


memebake: I meant vendors on the street. Like the guy selling art at the booth.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:09 AM on October 14, 2013


Ah, OK, thats 'an artist on a street selling their work'
posted by memebake at 4:11 AM on October 14, 2013


Trolling the art world isn't really that hard.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:11 AM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Bloody clueless Central Park tourists.

Or, savvy New Yorkers who think Banksy is overrated or played out. Could be either. Hard to tell from such a short film.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:12 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


My fake Banksy stall at Camden Market is going to make a killing now!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:21 AM on October 14, 2013 [18 favorites]


Looking at the YouTube comments, a lot of people aren't getting the central premise, which is that these sorts of stalls selling Banksy-style canvasses are very very common in some cities.

It would be fun if hundreds of street sellers hit NY tomorrow with their copies, I guess thats what Banksy is hoping for.
posted by memebake at 4:21 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked them and would have stopped and been sad that I didn't have $60 to spend on one.
posted by h00py at 4:30 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If a Banksy falls in the woods, amd nobody knows it's a Banksy, is it still a Banksy?
posted by Artw at 4:34 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Banksy was selling originals as forgeries, basically. Doubly silly because they're stencils.
posted by empath at 4:34 AM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Trolling the art world isn't really that hard.

Taking a dump in someone's front yard isn't really that hard either.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:42 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


It would be fun if hundreds of street sellers hit NY tomorrow with their copies, I guess thats what Banksy is hoping for.

Banksy's hoping his work elevates to the social status and impact on quality of New York City streets as the guys selling fake Gucci handbags and incense?

Ride that crazy rocket, you misunderstood genius. I just don't understand that you're an artiste.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:44 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Banksy's hoping his work elevates to the social status and impact on quality of New York City streets as the guys selling fake Gucci handbags and incense?

Probably. Read up on his world-view.
posted by memebake at 4:49 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or, savvy New Yorkers who think Banksy is overrated or played out. Could be either.

Yes, if I thought an artist was overrated I would intentionally refrain from making 50,000% instant profit on his work just to make a point.
posted by rory at 5:04 AM on October 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


There seem to be people in this thread who are unaware that Banksy is already basically at the same level as a Picasso or Andy Warhol, in terms of what the 'art world' thinks of him. What are signed Banksy's selling for now?
posted by empath at 5:13 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Banksy was selling originals as forgeries, basically. Doubly silly because they're stencils.
Agree, except I'd put 'brilliant' in place of 'silly'. A tease, a provocation, a joke, stylish and economical, completely contextual, popular. (contextual as in the - can't be emerging any more so might as well call it established - discipline new genre contextual practice.)
posted by glasseyes at 5:22 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd rather have an original Mr. Brainwash.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:29 AM on October 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think he'd be very pleased with the reaction in this thread anyway.
posted by walrus at 5:30 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ray Walston, Luck Dragon: "I thought this was going to be that thing where a guy puts paint in his butt and then forcefully evacuates it onto canvas

And I was like "augh, god"

Then I saw it was Banksy rip-offs and you might not believe how relieved I was
"

Sadly, truthfully, I thought it was the same thing but on the front half, if you get my drift.
posted by Samizdata at 5:31 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


There seem to be people in this thread who are unaware that Banksy is already basically at the same level as a Picasso or Andy Warhol, in terms of what the 'art world' thinks of him.

Both of them used to pull this kind of shit too.
posted by Artw at 5:31 AM on October 14, 2013


charlie don't surf: "Trolling the art world isn't really that hard.

Taking a dump in someone's front yard isn't really that hard either.
"

Not getting caught during the act and avoiding terminal bacon stripes is though.
posted by Samizdata at 5:32 AM on October 14, 2013


ohdamnitsomuch.

One of my wife and I's favorite weekend activities is walking through that area of the park to with our nine month old and a good chunk of the time we look through the artists stalls to find fun stuff for our son's walls.

And we're both hugs banksy fans. Sigh. We have little posters of a couple of those and or decals on our laptops.

oh well, last time we were there we got a couple of these:

Spherescapes

which were made by a nice expecting couple so support your local artist if thats your thing.
posted by slapshot57 at 5:43 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


What are signed Banksy's selling for now?

My brother's £36 unsigned print is being sold by galleries for over £2k. Signed ones go for up to £10k. UK papers are reporting that each of the canvases being sold in Central Park was worth up to £20k.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:52 AM on October 14, 2013


What are signed Banksy's selling for now?

Today's media opinions vary: Metro/Daily Mail: "actual estimated value of up to £20,000[$30,000] per canvas"; Telegraph: "A triptych containing two similar black-on-white versions of these two works, alongside a third piece, sold for £121,250 at auction in London in 2008." Guardian: "the valuation of the small to medium-sized canvases that were sold is estimated to be in the region of £140,000", Mashable: "In comparison, in 2007 Banksy's work "Space Girl & Bird" was sold for $578,000, and in 2008 his canvas "Keep it Spotless" was sold for $1,870,000".

So looks like 5- or 6-figures, but I guess we won't know until Pest Control calls it.
posted by progosk at 5:54 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd rather have an original Mr. Brainwash.

A couple years back I was staying at a friend's place in West Hollywood and thought the art in the lobby looked familiar. Turns out the building was owned by Mr. Brainwash's brother (who I'm told appears briefly in Exit Through the Gift Shop).

The weird thing is that I went with my friend to this brother's vintage t-shirt shop where she had to conduct some business with him--her landlord. So, she introduces me to this guy and says, "Dobbs, this is Mike."* Mike offers his hand, I shake it, he looks me in the eye and says, "Tony." Then, the guy's wife comes up to us and calls him Mike.

When we're about to leave I say, "Nice to meet you... " and he says, "Tony. Good to meet you Dobbs."

And then we walk away and I ask my friend WTF and she says, "No idea. He tells me his name is Mike but I make the check out to Tony. Every time I call him Tony he says to call him Mike. If I would have introduced him as Tony he would have said Mike." She pauses then and says, "But the weirdest thing is if I would have intro'd him as Tony, he would have said Mike, and his wife, when she came up, she would have called him Tony, not Mike. One time I asked him why his wife sometimes calls him Tony and sometimes calls him Mike and he said, 'My feet. She looks at them and knows who I am by how far apart they are.'"

True story *(except I can't recall what the two names were so just used Tony and Mike).
posted by dobbs at 6:01 AM on October 14, 2013 [16 favorites]


There's a lot of hate for Banksy these days, which I guess is inevitable because he's become ubiquitous and can seem like a bit of a smartarse. And because the art world got interested in him, it can seem like he's trying to be an artiste. If you didn't know his history, he might seem like someone shamelessly making loads of money by commercialising 'Street Art' and crossing it over into the mainstream.

But (from my reading at least) he's just a bloke who liked to paint on walls and had some amusing images. Someone fond of stunts, like breaking into a zoo enclosures. Something about his style caught the zeitgeist, and over about five to ten years he became enormously popular. He found a way to scale up his activities while basically maintaining the same aesthetic. As a side effect, his work became very valuable.

Fundamentally, he just likes doing what he does, and thats supposed to be our most genuine definition of what 'artist' means.

Recent interview about what he's doing this month is pretty interesting:
The premise of his new project is to create a new piece of art on the streets of New York, for each day in October.

"I know street art can feel increasingly like the marketing wing of an art career, so I wanted to make some art without the price tag attached."

"There is no gallery show or book or film. It's pointless," he said. "Which hopefully means something."
posted by memebake at 6:05 AM on October 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


I played a trick on my husband last night re: this story; I said, "I am SO MAD....... that Banksy was selling prints in Central Park and I didn't get one." He thought he was in trouble. I'm a cruel wife. Much like Banksy is a cruel artist.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:08 AM on October 14, 2013


(more on Banksy pricing, from 2011.)
posted by progosk at 6:11 AM on October 14, 2013


There seem to be people in this thread who are unaware that Banksy is already basically at the same level as a Picasso or Andy Warhol, in terms of what the 'art world' thinks of him. What are signed Banksy's selling for now?

Yeah, here's the problem with that though. An artist cannot just be judged by what the art world thinks of them. If the vast majority of us think Banksy's work is "eh" (and I'm not saying that's the case), he'll never be a Picasso or Warhol in terms of the canon of art.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:17 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The interview memebake linked to is pretty much required reading for context here, btw; thanks!
posted by progosk at 6:21 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem is the price. $60.00 for some crap i wouldn't even hang in a college dorm room. Where can I buy me an M. C. Escher print?
posted by Gungho at 6:23 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


There seem to be people in this thread who are unaware that Banksy is already basically at the same level as a Picasso or Andy Warhol, in terms of what the 'art world' thinks of him.

Oh, I know.

And for the record, I have no argument with people who genuinely like his work. I'm not one of them, but others are and that's okay.

However - one of my peeves is how sometimes a lot of the buzz surrounding some particular artists of some kind can after a while be chalked up to a whole perceived-cool reaction, where I can tell that people are following them and professing fandom because they've heard that the genuinely cool people are supposed to like them. Richard Foreman is a theater example - I've talked to a good handful of people who've at one time or another pointed to a particular Richard Foreman piece they liked. But only one of those people could go on to point to concrete things they liked about the piece itself - the others could only say they liked it "because it's Richard Foreman". It's a sort of Emperors'-new-clothes thing going on.

Sometimes, too, the people who get caught up in that hype aren't above implying that the people who don't like this particular artists are rubes or ignorant or just generally non-hip; when often, these very same people would most likely not give the art in question a second glance if Famous Person's Name wasn't attached to it.

So my point is - if you like Banksy's work, you'd probably buy it if it was done by a random art student. But if you're sneering at the "Central Park tourists" for not getting it, I'm usually inclined to suspect that if Banksy wasn't big, you'd have walked right by his work without a second glance yourself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


There seem to be people in this thread who are unaware that Banksy is already basically at the same level as a Picasso or Andy Warhol, in terms of what the 'art world' thinks of him.

That seems more than a bit generous to Banksy.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:30 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


New Banksy piece found in London
posted by litleozy at 6:34 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why, of all the street artists in the world, is Banksy the name everyone is excited about? I like his stuff but I can think of 10 street artists in Paris alone at his level. Why him?
posted by Nelson at 6:35 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


His website has the works he has done in NY each day since October 1st. The October 4th and October 11th ones are pretty funny.
posted by memebake at 6:35 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why, of all the street artists in the world, is Banksy the name everyone is excited about? I like his stuff but I can think of 10 street artists in Paris alone at his level. Why him?

Why not him? The art world crawled up its own ass and died long ago. I'm just mad I'm not him!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:40 AM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Why him?

Because someone was needed to be totemic for street art and he happened to fit the bill. Not to say that Banksy lacks talent for a second, but he does find himself in the strange position where his reach much exceeds his grasp: Bansky (as accepted representative of Street Art) has always run the risk of being used by the art gallery world in order to talk to itself about its problems and so what he actually does is less important than want it can be taken to mean by les gens bien pensant. He's been smart but I'm not sure I would want to be in his position.
posted by litleozy at 6:43 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why, of all the street artists in the world, is Banksy the name everyone is excited about? I like his stuff but I can think of 10 street artists in Paris alone at his level. Why him?

For me, its the ideas rather than the quality of the images. He has a good line in quips which sum up the weirdness of the 21st century. “People who get up early in the morning cause war, death and famine.” etc. He knows what subvert means, and how to do it in an amusing but genuine way. And he's found a way to scale-up his stunts. The current one-work-a-day-for-a-month-in-new-york thing is a good example of scaling up.

“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.” - Banksy
posted by memebake at 6:43 AM on October 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


If the vast majority of us think Banksy's work is "eh" (and I'm not saying that's the case), he'll never be a Picasso or Warhol in terms of the canon of art.

Are you kidding? Have you heard the mockery 99/100 people on the street will heap on Rothko?
posted by kiltedtaco at 6:59 AM on October 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have always been very interested in art valuation. Rich people who spend hundreds of thousands on art obviously don't develop their opinions all by themselves. Who decides that certain artists are hot and thus targets for all that gravy sloshing around? Any up-to-date books on this subject?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:05 AM on October 14, 2013


I like his work. I like the social commentary. I knew he was in NYC this month. I am not. If I were and had seen this, I would have tried to haggle to $40, bought one regardless, and called it good for the day. Upside: he might have done it. Downside: I bought a Banksy print that was worth $20 for the frame and canvas. Either way - it would be a great conversation piece.

Also, next weekend 15 booths will be set up with Banksy prints: find the one that isn't a forgery.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:12 AM on October 14, 2013


I would have walked right by, knowing that I don't have $60 to spend on "street" anything. That's how savy I am.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:17 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wonder if they people who bought them in the park know what they've got?
posted by gnuhavenpier at 7:25 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Missile man - Felix Salmon writes about that topic a lot on his blog; suggest you hit him on Twitter.
posted by Mid at 7:30 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


More Banksy quotes
“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity. Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”

posted by memebake at 7:32 AM on October 14, 2013 [20 favorites]


For all two of you who like Banksy and care (and I'm one, apparently): latest Banksy thought to be in Woodside.
posted by nevercalm at 7:41 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


How many of Banksy's artworks has Banksy (or some Banksy related corporate) bought?
posted by fistynuts at 7:44 AM on October 14, 2013


Are you kidding? Have you heard the mockery 99/100 people on the street will heap on Rothko?

When I was moving in with MrMippy, the only thing funnier than trying to persuade him to buy a purple sofa was claiming that I really, really wanted some Rothko prints on the walls.

I personally find Rothko incredibly depressing, but that pales next to those who want to cry emperor's new clothes.
posted by mippy at 7:48 AM on October 14, 2013


There is a Banksy near my office, on the wall of a kebab shop. Someone tried to paint over it, and now it's behind plexiglass. The huge one I saw on the way to a job interview a few years ago was painted over by Camden Council.
posted by mippy at 7:49 AM on October 14, 2013


Given these are just cheap stencils on canvas, of other works that were done on walls - in a sense they are actually copies. Even if Banksy is in some sense responsible for physically doign the spray paint these are still copies of his own work elsewhere.

I would have assumed they were just knock-offs by a third party and not bought one. Even if they were certified as "Banksy" I'd still be wary that the resale value would be less than the purchase price.
posted by mary8nne at 7:56 AM on October 14, 2013


progosk: “Last Saturday this guy was selling canvases of 'spray art' from a Central Park sidewalk stall for 60 bucks each. He sold seven of them.”

Actually, it appears that he sold eight of them. Total takings for the day were $420, yes, but one lady bought two only after negotiating a 50% discount.
posted by koeselitz at 7:57 AM on October 14, 2013


I'd have bought one because they looked cool; I also love 'Little Lion Man' so that tells you something, right? Banksy and Mumford should hook up on my payweek, is what I'm saying.
posted by h00py at 8:01 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


rongorongo: "Right. So now it is time for The Met to hold a dryly curated exhibition comprising Chinese Dali copies, Matisse fridge magnets, magic eye pictures of Einstein, brass Statue of Liberty key chains, caricatures of Michael Jackson and Jack Vetrianno originals."

That sounds like a Duchamp exhibit.
posted by Mister_A at 8:07 AM on October 14, 2013


mary8nne: Given these are just cheap stencils on canvas, of other works that were done on walls - in a sense they are actually copies. Even if Banksy is in some sense responsible for physically doign the spray paint these are still copies of his own work elsewhere.

I am not a Bansky expert but I think that most of his work are cheap stencils.

Even if they were certified as "Banksy" I'd still be wary that the resale value would be less than the purchase price.

This performance piece is history now, so the provenance is clear and will be. The works are signed, and the "show" is well documented. So I assume that the resale value will be quite high, at least current market value for Bansky works of this size on canvas.

But forget about getting them authenticated...
posted by snaparapans at 8:20 AM on October 14, 2013


“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.” - Banksy

Interesting. I'm among those who are not attracted to the aesthetics of Banksy and have never bothered to pay any attention to him. I do generally find the issues of art, commerce, cool, art market, craft, talent, and promotion which come up in conversations about him really interesting, but I'm neither a fan nor a nonfan.

Anyway, the quote that memebank dropped made me laugh and it made me consider Banksy for the first time ever. It comports precisely with my experiences walking through contemporary modern art shows and exhibits of contemporary modern artists at museums. It also tracks very closely the careers of even the modestly talented young artists I knew who got early nibbles at established galleries and now work for BBDO or Leo Burnett or in house at some of the biggest companies out there, selling their corporate ethos in really nice packages.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:26 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyway, the quote that memebank dropped made me laugh and it made me consider Banksy for the first time ever.

His movie Exit Through the Gift Shop is highly entertaining.
posted by rory at 8:39 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you're interested in Banksy, I'd urge you to watch Exit Through the Gift Shop without first reading any of those reviews Rory just linked to. It heads in a fantastically unexpected direction.
posted by Mothlight at 8:41 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


At least, rich white people didn't give a shit when Joshua Bell played in the subway.

This again?

I was one of those people (not rich - but white and w/some knowledge of classical music). I saw Bell playing and kept right on walking.

I heard him, thought "he's better than the average person that plays here", but was on my way to work during rush hour, as were 90+% of the people coming up that escalator.* Most of us were hustling to get in on time - that doesn't make us philistines or incapable of appreciating the arts.

* The escalator is inside the L'Enfant Plaza Promenade - not a heavy tourist area, largely used by people coming to work in the mall and the office buildings above it. Mostly working - not rich - people, many non-white, FWIW. All Bell's experiment proved is that working people often have no choice but to get to work on time.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:56 AM on October 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


fistynuts: How many of Banksy's artworks has Banksy (or some Banksy related corporate) bought?

By which, I assume you mean, is he investing in his own stock? Thats a good question. But wouldnt an artist just sit on unsold works rather than buy their own on the market? Or is buying one's own stuff a common tactic? In which case I suspect he hasn't.

A similar question would be: Has Banksy ever worked on adverts, and the answer (of course) is No, although I'm sure he's had a ton of approches.
posted by memebake at 9:04 AM on October 14, 2013


nevercalm: "For all two of you who like Banksy and care (and I'm one, apparently): latest Banksy thought to be in Woodside."

I like Banksy. I like his prankiness and how he's gotten away with it for so long, as well as concealing his identity. Fun stuff.
posted by Samizdata at 9:10 AM on October 14, 2013


I don't actually care about the identity of banksy. As far a I'm concerned, nothing about him matters but the work.

Just like 'Shakespeare' is the guy that wrote the plays, and any trivia we happen to know about his 'real life' is unimportant.
posted by empath at 9:26 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't actually care about the identity of banksy. As far a I'm concerned, nothing about him matters but the work.

I am mildly curious about his identity, but more interested in the work, "the work" being, for me anyway, what he says rather than the stencils he produces. I wonder if he was an art history major or something who decided the only way to get his message out was to become an artist. He and Bill Drummond are pretty much the only artists who I give a shit about what they have to say, and I could take or leave (honestly, mostly leave) their overt art.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:46 AM on October 14, 2013


I think that Banksy is doing some really interesting stuff and he's certainly the name I associate most with street art. I understand the people who dismiss that as graffiti or vandalism, but I think that's short-sighted. When I see street vendors selling art, I'm not thinking of investment potential. I'm thinking of how it would look in my house and how much enjoyment I would get seeing it every day. Personally, these spray art pieces aren't something that move me enough to want a print. But that's just me.

On the other hand his new NYC installation, Sirens of the Lambs, gives me a whole new level of appreciation for Banksy.

posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:39 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Memebake, that quote is not by Banksy
posted by Windigo at 10:55 AM on October 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


ryanshepard: "* The escalator is inside the L'Enfant Plaza Promenade - not a heavy tourist area, largely used by people coming to work in the mall and the office buildings above it. Mostly working - not rich - people, many non-white, FWIW. All Bell's experiment proved is that working people often have no choice but to get to work on time."

The other half of that experiment proves that L'Enfant plaza has terrible acoustics.

Seriously. Orchestras perform in concert halls for a reason.
posted by schmod at 10:59 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


She looks at them and knows who I am by how far apart they are.'"

True story *(except I can't recall what the two names were so just used Tony and Mike). posted by dobbs


EponyBobstical!
posted by sneebler at 11:13 AM on October 14, 2013


memebake: "There's a lot of hate for Banksy these days, which I guess is inevitable because he's become ubiquitous and can seem like a bit of a smartarse." popular.

There are people in this thread hating on Banksy's attitude about this event, which no one knows, because he hasn't expressed it. Any of several ideas about it in this thread might be true... but haters can't wait to know facts before hating.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:01 PM on October 14, 2013


roomthreeseventeen: "f the vast majority of us think Banksy's work is "eh" (and I'm not saying that's the case), he'll never be a Picasso or Warhol in terms of the canon of art."

Your statement presumes a vast majority of us* think Warhol's was a masterful giant of the art world, when in fact I'd bet even money that the majority of people think Warhol is a hack and poser.

* Unless by "us" you mean "Metafilter alone determines artistic greatness", in which case shine on, you crazy diamond.

Now, if you were to reframe that sentence for "majority of self-described art lovers", you'd have something.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:06 PM on October 14, 2013


snaparapans: "
I am not a Bansky expert but I think that most of his work are cheap stencils.
"

mary8nne: "Given these are just cheap stencils on canvas, of other works that were done on walls "

Pray tell me, what would an not-cheap stencil consist of? Serious. That phrase really has no meaning, AFAICT, except to sound denigrating.


snaparapans: "But forget about getting them authenticated..."

As progosk pointed out, Banksy has a one-stop authentication source: Pest Control.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:18 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


windigo: Memebake, that quote is not by Banksy

Interesting! Although if you read the follow-up post by Sean Tejaratchi, it seems to be a case of an honest mistake rather than plagiarism. OK, well here's some other quotes that may be by Banksy....
posted by memebake at 2:48 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pray tell me, what would an not-cheap stencil consist of?

Not sure ask mary8nne, that is her characterization of the Bansky works sold on CP sidewalk.

And great to hear that Bansky has an authentication committee that is up and working. It is very rare these days for any expert to risk giving a work the stamp of authenticity due to the plethora of lawsuits about authenticity. But, come to think of it the halt of authenticators is pertinent only for dead artists. Live artists can authenticate any work or de-authenticate any work whether or not he or she made it.

It could get sticky if an artist authenticates a fake, and it does get sticky when an artist de-authenticates a work.
posted by snaparapans at 2:53 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Why, of all the street artists in the world, is Banksy the name everyone is excited about? I like his stuff but I can think of 10 street artists in Paris alone at his level. Why him?"

For me, it's because his art is almost always pithy and humorous. Even without any words, you get exactly what it's saying at first glance. I've never seen any other street art that had that sort of immediate draw to it. Who are your Parisian artists?
posted by archagon at 3:08 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dated someone who was way too into (for my tastes), Agnes Martin. That type of work just bores and depresses me. Banksy's stuff on the other hand, man; I just love it. If I was walking down the street at night after a long day at work and ran into this, I would feel good for another day.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:46 PM on October 14, 2013


Count me in the pile of people that can't imagine spending $60 out of pocket on a street corner. I'm pretty happy with my $4 Goodwill canvases, thanks.
posted by maryr at 4:46 PM on October 14, 2013


Love or hate his work, if it's got you thinking then it's doing it's job because that's all art is really for. What I like about Banksy, apart from the flip insouciance, is that although he obviously still has to eat he doesn't seem to be in it primarily for the money or for the fame. By not revealing his identity and doing the majority of his work without being paid for it, you can definitely say he's doing it because that's what he wants to do, and that's something to be respected in my book.
posted by walrus at 5:14 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Something about his style caught the zeitgeist, and over about five to ten years he became enormously popular.

Banksy is of course, Bristolian. (As well as international.) In I think 2009 he had a retrospective at Bristol Museum - it was just after he was in the news for having got into the American art market. And I think one of the truly remarkable things about Banksy is that scores of people must know who he is - family, childhood friends, current friends, collaborators and colleagues - and nobody has told. Despite the best efforts and bribes of the Daily Mail and it's ilk.

Well, at this retrospective there were queues all the way down the street. The waiting time was something like three hours. Then they put winding barriers up, which tightened up the queues for a bit, and then the queues kept growing till they were all the way down the street again and round the corner. Thing about these queues, they were full of what's known in the gallery trade as 'Real People', that is, people not connected to the 'art world'. There were people from Bristol, people from the South West, coach trips of people from all over UK, and coach trips from the continent.

The exhibition was free, it was a collaboration between Banksy and the museum and I believe Banksy put up some of the money (from his new-found American profits) and the City Council put up the rest. Or maybe Banksy funded the whole thing, I can't remember, I'm sure its Googleable.

Bristol Museum is a local community institution. It's free, except for a bit of a blip in the Thatcher years, it's a place you can spend hours in with young children, it has a lively education department with ongoing youth programmes and holiday activities and outreach programmes for adults. It has static exhibits probably everybody who grew up in Bristol is familiar with. The seal. The tiger. The Romany Caravan. The Banksy show was like a homage to the Museum and to Bristol. It could only have been done by a person who loved it, knew it, grew up there. It referenced the Museum, schools, the Zoo, The Galleries, the Mall, council estates, caravans, riots, council estate riots, fish fingers, the Evening Post, colonialism, chips (fries). Then it went global and referenced justice, land rights, politics, war. And then, the internal life, and the effort of an artist. It was the best bloody show I've seen in my life.

And I felt privileged, through the scope of the exhibition, to have seen someone develop into their full powers. Because there are a lot of reasons, for creative people, why they don't get to where they are aiming. They might make the wrong choices, or have to go get a sensible job, or not be quite brave enough to grasp an opportunity....or you know, have a baby or have to look after a sick parent. But when somebody does get to that place, the place indicated by their potential, and achieves control of their medium, their audience and the way their work is exhibited, and to some degree the effect it has in the world, that is exciting. That's where Banksy is right now.

So he can play games and joke and prank and it looks kinda silly and cheap but what effect will it have? Quite a pronounced one on the business of buying art and treating art as a commodity, especially his. I read today there are local people charging to reveal a Banksy graffito on the street (in Nigeria the term is Area Boys) well, good luck to them. Why should they be seen as less legitimate profiteers than a gallery? And Banksy has now queered the pitch so much who is to say the area boys aren't part of his residency?
posted by glasseyes at 5:19 PM on October 14, 2013 [17 favorites]


Bye bye banksy.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:44 PM on October 14, 2013


Long time ago some French dude signed a damn urinal and got that shit in museums all over the world. As ridiculous as I think that was, I also think it points up the futility of "trolling" the art marketplace. Banksy's work strikes me as a long run for a short slide in that regard. Rich people will throw their money the damnedest crap.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 5:57 PM on October 14, 2013


I confess that I would have thought "banksy knockoff" then promptly purchased the ballerina because (1) it's lovely and (2) it would require everyone to stare at it and mutter "FRU-JEE-LAY. Must be Italian."
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:49 PM on October 14, 2013


Banksy is more Andy Kaufman than Andy Warhol.
posted by addled_b at 7:52 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Banksy is more Andy Kaufman than Andy Warhol.

Bam. Print the t-shirt, hit the talk shows.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:01 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


glasseyes: I read today there are local people charging to reveal a Banksy graffito on the street (in Nigeria the term is Area Boys) well, good luck to them.

Yup, see the video on the October 10th entry
posted by memebake at 9:21 AM on October 15, 2013


Banksy Puts Up 9/11 Tribute In TriBeca
posted by naoko at 9:21 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, gotta love the youtube comment: "isn't this what museums that charge admission do as well?"
posted by memebake at 9:22 AM on October 15, 2013


Right. So now it is time for The Met to hold a dryly curated exhibition comprising Chinese Dali copies

They actually have held exhbits focusing on historic copying practices:

Historic Images of the Greek Bronze Age: the Reproductions of E. Gilliéron & Son also Victorian Electrotypes: Old Treasures, New Technology
posted by Jahaza at 9:38 AM on October 15, 2013


Though I know those aren't exactly what you're suggesting.
posted by Jahaza at 9:39 AM on October 15, 2013


I'll be amused if it turns out the customers were also part of the installation.
posted by tavella at 10:36 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


An interesting take on New York's "Banksy? Meh" reaction.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:27 PM on October 16, 2013


An interesting take on New York's "Banksy? Meh" reaction.

Nothing but the usual, "New York is so busy and hard-nosed" bluster. New York? Meh.

When so much of your hype stems from your anonymity, it makes perfect sense that New Yorkers would be largely unimpressed. It’s a city full of anonymous people, so that whole supposedly edgy anonymity novelty just doesn’t move us.

Hoo, yeah, as opposed to every other big city where everyone knows everyone else. You got us.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:43 AM on October 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


My fake Banksy stall at Camden Market is going to make a killing now!

Fake Banksy Art Booth in New York City Sells Out in Under an Hour
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:32 AM on October 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


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