British artist Banksy’s work normally sells for over $200,000. How many would you buy if you could have forty for $60 each? A lot of New Yorkers and tourists to New York were given that opportunity when the artist set up an anonymous stall in Central Park.
Of the hundreds of people who passed the stall, only four bought a painting. One even bargained the price down to $60 for two. At the end of the day, only eight paintings were sold for a total of $420. If the paintings were offered as an exhibition in a proper gallery, I’m sure they would all have been sold within minutes for several million dollars.
If you are selling a premium product, you must create a suitable environment, otherwise your product will be devalued.
Why did Banksy sell his paintings so cheaply? I think he knows enough about the art market that only a few paintings would be sold. The publicity from this stunt creates interest in his personal brand which far outweighs the loss of a few canvasses. He still has 30 paintings left over from the event which he can probably now sell at an even higher premium. In addition, this stunt is a performance artwork, commenting on consumerism, the art world, values etc.