Banksy Comments on the Nobel Prize?

Mashable: Street artist Banksy set up a stall in New York’s Central Park Saturday, selling his original pieces — worth tens of thousands of dollars each — for $60.

The event was documented on video and posted on Banksy’s website. It took several hours for the first artwork to be sold, to a lady who managed to negotiate a 50% discount for two small canvases. There were only two more buyers, and by 6 p.m. the stall was closed with total earnings of $420.

For comparison, in 2007 Banksy’s work “Space Girl & Bird” was purchased for $578,000, and in 2008 his canvas “Keep it Spotless” was sold for $1,870,000.

What would Fama, Shiller and Hansen say about these asset prices?

Maximizing revenue for non-reproducible art is a matching process, the artist must find the handful of buyers in the world willing to pay the most (see An Economic Theory of Avant-Garde and Popular Art) so perhaps one can explain this as a failure of marketing.

An alternative explanation is that modern art is a bubble, people buy only because they expect to sell to others–take away this expectation and the art doesn’t sell. (Fashions and fads can help the latter explanation a long but there still needs to be an expectation of a future sucker buyer.)

Or perhaps Banksy is commenting on an earlier Nobel winner.


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