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Graffiti Artist Catches New York City Off Guard
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Story By: Larry Stine



  Originally Published on: 10/17/2013

New Yorkers are known for their love of art. But many missed an opportunity when a popular street artist offered his work at bargain basement prices. Ivan Watson has the story. The British street artist "Banksy" strikes again. The idea, bringing art to the people in unexpected ways. This time, on a random street corner in Queens, New York. Within hours, fans of all ages pose next to a stencil quoting Russell Crowe's sword-fighting general from the Hollywood blockbuster gladiator, "What we do in life echoes in eternity." "It's historical in many ways and I just want to have that later on in life to look back on," says Bear McMonagle, a Banksy fan. "She could say she got a photo taken in front of an original Banksy that's no longer in existence." Banksy is famous for being anonymous, surprising audiences with his politically-themed art, which pops up on buildings in cities around the world, including here on Israeli security wallks in the West Bank. "Within hours, Banksy has turned this street corner in a neighborhood in Queens into an open-air art exhibit of sorts," says CNN's Ivan Watson. "The irony is, just a few days ago, fans could have bought one of his original canvases for just $60" On Sunday, Banksy unveiled this video, showing an elderly unidentified man selling his stencils along New York's Central Park. He waited all day, yet only three people bought his art for a total of $420, bargain-basement prices in the high-priced world of art. "I think this was to poke fun at collectors and different buyers of his workks," says Alex Benrimon of artnet.com. "People like you?" asked Watson. "Exactly! People like me," Benrimon responded. Benrimon is a collector who plans to auction off earlier Banksy artwork for tens of thousands of dollars a piece. "He's always about being accessible and being open to the public, and doing things for the city, for the culture," says Benrimon. Every day this month, Banksy has said he will unveil a new piece of art in New York, their authenticity confirmed on his web site. This truck full of puppet animals in the meat-packing districtm another example. But missing this opportunity to buy Banksy's art for next to nothing is driving some of his most loyal fans crazy. "I think what Banksy did is brilliant. I think he really made a statement yesterday," says Jacqueline Hadel, a Banksy fan. "But you're kicking yourself?" asks Watson. "Big time!" she replied. "And you love this guy?" asks Watson. "Yeah!" she exclaims.

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