Last week, the world’s most famous spray artist Banksy set up shop in New York to sell original works to oblivious pedestrians for $60 a pop. And after a long day of street vending, he reaped a modest $420 in sales for artworks that would fetch a combined total of an estimated $50 000 – $70 000 (upwards). The stunt, part of Banksy’s Better Out Than In New York residency, was a fleeting, viral experiment that he vowed never to repeat again.
To conduct their own experiment, artists Dave Cicirelli and Lance Pilgrim opportunistically set up an identical stall to Banksy’s of the week before – with the only difference, according to their blog, was that the artworks were “completely worthless.” The artworks, as shown in the video below, came with a “certificate of in-authenticity” and the stall was littered with signs that explicitly said “Fake Banksy.”
However, as suckers will have their trinkets, the fake works were completely sold out in under an hour, with the stall generating queues and around a dozen happy customers.
The artists said of their inspiration, “When news of this broke, the story took over New York. In that echo of
media hype, we saw an opportunity for a little mischief, and a chance to
make a statement about the nature of hype, public personas, and the
value of art.”
Cicirelli and Pilgrim’s stunt certainly makes a powerful statement about the art market, its worth and the role that hype/marketing play in attaching dollar signs to works that may otherwise be completely looked over. Banksy’s original experiment proved that perfectly, as was undoubtedly his intention. Without his name and his reputation, Banksy’s work becomes virtually worthless – something to which he is glaringly aware. Not long after some of Banksy’s biggest sales at auction, the illusive artist created another artwork, claiming, “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit.” Keeping it real.
Watch New Yorkers think they’ve struck gold below.