Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Banksy Pranks Auction House, Shreds $1 Million Artwork

Banksy Pranks Auction House, Shreds $1 Million Artwork

People stared open-mouthed as the painting was shredded and Banksy himself caught the moment as a photo, which he shared on his Instagram account.

"Girl With Balloon", which depicts a small child reaching up toward a heart-shaped red balloon, was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy's best-known images. And in true satirical Banksy fashion, he quoted artist Picasso in his caption: "the urge to destroy is also a creative urge". The video showed images of a shredder being implanted into a picture frame along with footage of Friday's auction finale.

Whether the Banksy painting's final bidder is expected to pay "as is" for the painting is unclear.

What do you make of Banksy's stunt?

He later explained in a video that he built the shredding machine into his iconic artwork years ago with the intention of self-destructing if it was sold at auction.

One thing is for sure, the painting may be "damaged" but the art event will go down in art history, and the price may soar as a result. Banksy did this in case the eventuality arose that the painting was put up for sale on auction.

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However, some auction flipping experts claimed that Banksy's stunt would only cause the value of the shredded painting to increase by about 50 percent more, meaning Banksy might have accidentally increased the value of said painting, despite its state.

Banksy - whose identity still has yet to be confirmed - often incorporates political messaging, anti-capitalist ideas, and art world satire into his work.

Suddenly, Banksy works were fetching tens of thousands of pounds at renowned auction houses and the mysterious street artist was world famous.

The post, and reports of a man dressed in black sunglasses and a hat scuffling with security guards near the entrance to Sotheby's shortly after the incident, led to speculation the artist was present to trigger it.

Maybe It's both a subversive artist statement and a publicity stunt-and basically everyone, from the artist to the buyer to those who witnessed the shredding in real time to us watching it now, wins. "It's certainly the first piece to be spontaneously shredded as an auction ends".

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