Banksy’s newest bit of artistic rebellion came to fruition on Friday night, when a framed painting of one of his signature designs was sold at auction. Once the gavel hit the hardwood, however, the piece was partially shredded with a device hidden in the painting’s frame. The piece, which sold for more than $1 million, now hangs halfway out of its frame in ribbons, with the girl partially obscured by the frame that destroyed the work in the first place.
The British graffiti artist posted a video on Saturday that revealed he, indeed, did play a prank on the auction house on Friday, intentionally setting the frame up to shred the work if it were ever auctioned off. This is Banksy’s deal: He doesn’t like his works being monetized and has avoided charging people to view his works, many of which pop up in public places.
Some in the art world will literally move cinder blocks and other structures he’s created on to put them in galleries or private collections. Those who stumble upon his works in their neighborhood will cover them up and charge a cover to take a peek. And knockoff artists will try to turn a quick buck. He’s feigned helplessness about such things in the past, but this stunt was a clearly planned and carefully orchestrated by the artist himself.