Well, this is something. At an auction at Sotheby’s in London, renowned street artist Banksy pulled the type of art-prank that charms fans, baffles collectors, and further solidifies the elusive renegade as a vital artist who puts creativity before commerce. Selling at $1.4 million, the mixed media piece in question marked a record-selling-price for the artist. But anyone who expected Banksy to be lurking in the shadows counting his money was sorely mistaken.
When the auction gavel dropped, an alarm was sounded and “Girl With Balloon” — an iconic Banksy image spray-painted on canvas — immediately made its way through a shredder covertly hidden in the painting’s frame. Banksy captured the shock and wonderment of the crowd who watched a painting, now valued at well over a million, slowly torn to pieces in front of them.
This begs the question though, what of the buyer who dropped the $1.4 million? Alex Branczik, the head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, told the NYPost, “It appears we just got Banksy-ed… we have not experienced this situation in the past… we are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context.” Aside from being a clear commentary on how we value art, Banksy has made this whole event into an art piece in itself.
Does the buyer take home the scraps? It wouldn’t be a bad idea — every contemporary art museum on earth is going to want those shredded pieces. Still, this being art, people have thoughts. Watch the chaos ensue below!