Banksy is in New York this month for an artist's residency called "Better Out Than In." Around 15 of his pieces are now situated around the city. There's an enormous mural of horses in a Lower East Side lot, a creepy-as-fuck delivery truck filled with stuffed animals, and a cool little beaver, among others. Fun fact about the beaver: It's located in East New York, a tough Brooklyn neighborhood, and residents have been charging Upper West Side tourists $5-20 to look at it. The beaver is a 3-foot-tall stencil. The whole situation is all so stupid, but daps on the capitalistic flair.
Anyway, that's all background for what happened in Central Park over the weekend, which was maybe the best (and smartest) Banksy prank ever. The artist, who has never publicly shown his face, hired an elderly man to set up a Banksy pop-up shop on 59th Street. The prints were being sold for $60 a pop—and the old guy only sold to three people. He acted so happy that he hugged each customer.
The kicker? The prints weren't reproductions, but authentic, signed Banksy pieces, which typically auction for tens of thousands of dollars. A customer who bought four canvases might have just made $100k. It was brilliant: Banksy pranked both those who walked by and passed up a chance to make a ton of money, and the art world in general, which values image and name recognition more than art itself. This is how you prank.