Banksy Takes the Art World’s Money, But He Won’t Buy Its Line | Creative Time Reports:
On Sunday, a booth appeared in Central Park selling “signed,” “100% original” Banksys—at $60 a piece. Except for a few tourists, everyone ignored it. The booth seemed to be evidence of the cashing-in on any current event, from 9/11 to Occupy to a famous street artist’s “residency,” that we do in this most capitalist of cities. But it was real.
The Internet lacerated itself for not buying Banskys at a 10,000-percent discount. But would you recognize art if it wasn’t marked as such? Banksy, who can’t write the word “elephant” on a water tanker without having it crated off and auctioned, made something that was fake until the magic moment it turned out to be real.
Art’s market value, like that of fashion, is derived from name more than any material properties. The Chinese factory workers sewing Chanel handbags can make the same bags, after hours, but they’ll be low-rent knockoffs without the interlocking “C”s. The same goes for an assistant who painted, without the master’s imprimatur, Damien Hirst’s dots. The Brand does transubstantiation. It turns crackers into the flesh of Christ.