Tourists buy $31K Banksy art for just $60 each (New York Post)

Now this was priceless.

British graffiti artist Banksy, whose socially conscious works have commanded six figures at auction, made his biggest statement yet over the weekend — offering his signed original spray paintings for $60 apiece at a streetside stall outside Central Park.

But the deal of a lifetime lured just three buyers in a city known as the center of the art world.

The three lucky customers — including one woman who haggled a 50 percent discount — snatched up eight paintings for a total of $420 during the seven hours an anonymous elderly man manned the booth.

The works have an estimated total value of a quarter-million dollars.

The missed opportunity had New Yorkers besides themselves Monday.

“Wow!!!! How many of us are kicking ourselves now,” tweeted Marianne Russo. “Famous artist Banksy sells original pieces cheap in Central Park.”

“Wow. I was in Central Park this Saturday and TOTALLY missed this,” tweeted Michael Alvarado. “I’m an idiot!!”

“Holy cow. What I wouldn’t have given to have stopped by Central Park on Sat to purchase a Banksy,” tweeted Katie Morse, of Brooklyn.

Some art lovers, however, were more proactive.

One New York Banksy fan posted an ad on Craigslist bright and early, hoping one of the Saturday buyers might part with a canvas.

“I am definitely prepared to pay a very fair premium for the piece,” the seller told The Post in an e-mail.

Banksy had apparently been planning the fire sale for months.

“Two or three months ago, the old guy came by and inquired about using the space,” said Thuptin Kunkhen, 48, who sells art near the same spot outside Central Park.

Kunkhen said the old man — the same who was manning the booth Saturday — asked him how much he made at the stand on a normal day and paid him and a partner about $500 to use the space on Saturday.

“The next day, we heard the paintings were worth over $40,000,” Kunkhen told The Post. “Had he known they were such expensive paintings, we would have bought them all.”

Several men, including a man with a video camera, helped the older man set up the stand, but Kunkhen couldn’t tell whether any of them was the elusive Banksy, whose image may have been revealed last week.

The world-famous street artist couldn’t help but mock the Big Apple’s masses, posting video of the slow sales day on his Web site.

“Yesterday I set up a stall in the park selling 100% authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each,” the artist wrote in text intercut in the video.

The booth, which consisted of a table and folding fence, was set up off Fifth Avenue at Central Park South next to other art peddlers at around 11 a.m. Saturday. Signs advertised nothing more than “Spray Art” for $60 — with no mention of the reclusive Banksy.

The elderly man went about four hours before making a sale.

The video shows him repeatedly yawning, eating lunch and otherwise looking bored as people strolled by without a second glance at the famous works.

Finally, at 3:30 pm, the first two pieces sold.

“First sale. A lady buys two small canvases for her children. But only after negotiation a 50% discount,” Banksy noted on the video.

Half an hour later, a New Zealand woman bought two of the pieces, paying $120, and earning a kiss from the man selling the art.

The stall minder hit the jackpot at around 5:30 p.m., when a man from Chicago stopped and said he was decorating his new house back home.

“I just need something for the walls,” he told the salesman before buying four large canvases and getting a big hug in return.

That turned out to be the last sale of the day, and Banksy’s street rep closed up shop around 6 p.m. with most of the pieces unsold.

The BBC estimated that the art pieces could be worth as much as $31,000 a piece.

But Banksy won’t be repeating the stunt.

In a note posted to his Web site, the artist wrote: “Please note this was a one-off. The stall will not be there again.”

Among the art lovers kicking themselves for missing out on the clearance sale was Emily Christensen-Flowers, a video producer at NBC News who describes herself as a “street-smart New Yorker” who “studied art history in college.”

While most pedestrians paid the sidewalk setup no mind, Christensen-Flowers actually derided the salesman when she walked by, assuming he was selling knockoffs.

“I know a fake Banksy when I see one — I thought,” Christensen-Flowers wrote on NBC’s Web site after learning each of the signed “knockoffs” was the genuine article.

“All day, I’ve been replaying my brush with Banksy through my head, trying to figure out if I missed any tip-offs that a pot of art-world gold was right under my nose.”

Meanwhile, the Craigslist buyer was still hoping for a bite from one of the buyers.

“I am simply a fan of his and in my late 20s, and not by any means part of the ultra-affluent crowd who his pieces usually end up with on the secondary market,” he said.

“I am in no way looking to get a ‘bargain’ but rather to pay something reasonable — yet enticing for the seller — for a piece that I would like to hold onto for the very long term.”

He also commended Banksy for the pop-up stand idea.

“I believe that he had a very pure intentions in wanting his pieces going into the hands of everyday people, and this is a way of making that statement,” he said.

Banksy is in the middle of a monthlong “residency” in New York, during which he has promised to complete a new work in the city and post it on his Web site.

Some of Banksy’s New York installations have included a slaughterhouse truck filled with stuffed animals touring the Meatpacking District, a concrete “confessional” on cement slabs in Manhattan, a beaver stenciled into a Brooklyn wall and a depiction of war horses sporting goggles behind a chain link fence on Ludlow Street.

Responses to “My kids could do that…” (

Every semester I hear, “I could make that”, “that’s not art”, or “my kid could do that.” I came across this blog and I had to share. I welcome anyone to share their responses to “My kid could do that…” as well.

by Hrag Vartanian on April 30, 2013

kidcoulddoit-200This week’s comic by Lauren Purje ignited a flurry of responses suggesting what others often say (or wish they’d said) when people make the very clichéd statement: “My Kid Could Do That.”

We’ve compiled some of our favorite comebacks, comments, and zingers from the blogazine and our social media channels for your enjoyment.

“my kid paints all my pieces for me!” And then introduce them to your tiny adorable goat wearing a little beret. @hannahrmoore

 “How much for the little child? I want to buy your children and put them to work.”@johntunger

Ask parent for a business card and say “I’ve been looking for a child prodigy.” RT How to respond to “My kid could do that.”@aggietoppins

Really?! So can I! Your kid and I should hang out some time.@RonaldCaringal

you respond by saying,”I could make a kid”@stevencharles67

sign the kid to a management contract.@LATACO

Laugh derisively.@Toure

Can you prove your kid is really your kid? -Rufus Vitali

Make art like Robert Mapplethorpe then if someone says that their kid could do that you can have them arrested! -Mark Holsworth

“Cool, does it sell?” and then, excitedly grab their arm and say; “I’d love to see it!” -Charlie Sam

So then your child is aware of the current state of art, art history, contemporary social politics and is able to make decisions about using or rejecting these points in the making and presentation of a work? -Krista Azzara

Really? Your kid could deconstruct art to it’s core principles, presenting a piece that exhibits movement, dynamism, contrast, pattern, and balance? Your kid could cause his viewer to question the nature of art, and the nature of their own existence? Your kid could impact society to such a degree that people make web comics about them over fifty five years after they die? Your kid can do that?! You have quite the kid. -Krista Azzara


Really? Your kid could deconstruct art to it’s core principles, presenting a piece that exhibits movement, dynamism, contrast, pattern, and balance? Your kid could cause his viewer to question the nature of art, and the nature of their own existence? Your kid could impact society to such a degree that people make web comics about them over fifty five years after they die? Your kid can do that?! You have quite the kid.

Emma Winn:

i could have done that + but you didn’t = modern art


my art history teacher’s response to her friends and family who don’t “get” modern art when they say “Hey, I could make that for you in the garage.” she says “Yeah, but it wasn’t your idea.”


Well your kid should promptly be given a straight jacket, ‘cause they cray.

Trent Flock has these two very different responses (among others):

“No. Your kid absolutely could not make this. And you couldn’t have either. This was made back when abstract art was in its infancy and people were taking big chances by producing work that was not representational. Some of them were responding the best way they knew how to large cultural shifts, wordless emotions, or other more abstract art forms, such as jazz. Representational work no longer felt like an adequate visual language, so they began to create their own that works on an intuitive level. Rather than trying to categorize a work based on merits as you see them now from a different place in history and different role in society, just be present with it.”

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Please see the original article here: