New Yorkers who love a good bargain missed a golden opportunity Saturday, when the artist and provocateur Banksy, whose sly graffiti art adorns collectors' walls, opened a sidewalk kiosk in Central Park to sell his work for $60 apiece.
With original signed art works zip-tied to the wire walls of his kiosk, Banksy set up shop next to stenciled signs reading, "Spray Art" and $60." A video of the art sale shows the stall of Banksy's work being staffed by a gray-haired man who yawns as he sits in a chair, being ignored.
His first sale came hours after opening, when a woman bought two canvases for her children. She negotiated a 50 percent discount on the pieces, according to the website of the anonymous artist who has sought to keep his appearance and identity a secret.
The offerings included small and large canvases, including a version of "Love Is in the Air." A limited edition of that work sold for $249,000 at auction this summer.
One text-based canvas took the form of a message reading, "The key to making great art is all in the compositio" the "n" was cut off, as the final word ran off the edge of the canvas.
A man who said he simply needed something to put on the walls in his new place bought four canvases. In total, Banksy took in $420 on the day.
At least two people who bought Banksy's art were planning to take their finds back home to Chicago in one case, and New Zealand in another. They got hugs and, in one case, a kiss on the cheek from the man representing the world-famous artist, who is in New York for a month-long visit.
In a recent interview with the Village Voice conducted via email, Banksy described his motivations or lack of them:
"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's no gallery show or book or film. It's pointless. Which hopefully means something."