The stand was up and running at eleven in the morning, yet the first purchase was not made until three-thirty. An American woman purchased two small prints for her children, but only after haggling the price down to half. Half an hour later, a woman from New Zealand purchased two prints. At five-thirty, a man from Chicago purchased four prints, explaining, “I just need something for the walls.”
The day’s grand total for these eight prints was $420. Conservatively, these eight prints could have sold for $30,000 each.
Banksy has been spending a month in New York where he means to make one piece of street art each day of October, and has titled the project Better Out Than In. The artist elaborates on his residency in a meticulously secret interview with New York’s publication The Village Voice. “The plan is to live here, react to things, see the sights - and paint of them. Some of it will be pretty elaborate, and some will just be a scrawl on a toilet wall.”
On October 1st, a Banksy spray art appeared in Chinatown displaying two old-school paperboys in overalls reaching for a spray paint can from a street sign that reads ‘Graffiti Is A Crime’. The piece also included a stenciled telephone number that viewers could call to learn more about the piece. Banksy posts these recordings online on his newly wiped website, http://www.banksy.co.uk/. The Chinatown post, which has since been titled The Street Is In Play, introduces Banksy’s motive.
A voice articulates over ominous elevator music: “Hello, and welcome to Lower Manhattan. Before you, you will see a spray art by the artist Banksy. Or maybe not. It’s probably been painted over by now. If, however, you can still make it out, you are looking at a type of picture called graffiti - from the Latin graffito - which means graffiti, with an ‘o.’ The child, in this case, represents youth and the sign represents, well, signs.” The voice goes on to discuss technical artistic terms and Banksy’s supposed vision in ornate language. After awhile, the voice abruptly cuts into colloquialisms, inquiring, “Are you kidding me? Who writes this stuff, anyway? You decide. Really, please do. I have no idea.”
It is up to us to make sense of October 11th’s The Sirens of the Lambs, a staged slaughterhouse delivery truck that drove around the Meatpacking District and featured twitching, squealing plush farm animals sticking out the truck’s sides. It is up to us to truly see the art displayed in street stands, because there might be something Banksy knows we’re missing.
Maggie Ambrose studies English at Emerson College. She is a big fan of velvet, tomatoes, thank you notes, and New Jersey.