Remember last fall when Banksy was running around the city, throwing million dollar-paintings up, willy nilly? Of course you do. So you probably also remember that about halfway through his month-long “Better Out Than In” residency–when Banksy mania was at a fever pitch–an old man set up a stall in Central Park and sold spray art canvases for $60 a pop.
That video was posted on Banksy’s website the next day along with the message: “Yesterday I set up a stall in the park selling 100% authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each.”
And at that moment every person in this city turned to all of the others and exclaimed FOOLS, IDIOTS, IMBECILES! We could have been rich!!!
How rich? At the time we didn’t know. We have an idea now, though, because two of the works–“Kids on Guns” and “Winnie the Pooh”–are going up for auction at Bonhams in London on July 2.
“Winnie the Pooh,” a 45.5 by 45.5 cm stencil spray paint on canvas, signed by the artist, was completed in 2013, came to Bonhams with a certificate of authenticity issued by Pest Control Office, Banksy’s handling service. The auction house estimates it is worth $51,000 to $85,000.
Bonhams estimates “Kids on Guns,” which is the same size (45.5 by 45.5 cm) and material (stencil spray paint on canvas), will fetch between $85,000 and $120,000.
If the estimated pricetag weren’t painful enough, a Bonhams spokesperson really twists the knife, describing in a statement announcing the auction, “Banksy’s immediately recognizable black and white stenciled canvases [were] stacked on a trestle table or suspended on the stall’s makeshift metal framework.”
But, they add, affecting an air of sympathy: “For the casual observer it must have been difficult to believe that the works were in fact genuine. The nature of the trader and stand, located in one of New York’s tourist hotspots, and the overall display of the works was a master stroke, a setting and presentation at odds with the hallowed space of a gallery environment designed to lend artworks gravitas and, by association, added value.” Thanks guys, that makes us feel a lot better.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 13, 2014