Banksy created a $1.3 million painting which self-destructed by shredding itself straight after auction
It seems that Banksy has finally out-Banksy-ed himself in a new stunt which has shocked the hoity-toity fellows of the art community. The street artist who is known around the world for his edgy graffiti-style work still (somehow) remains anonymous, though appears to be the master of being talked about.
It all began when he put up one of his most famous pieces of art for sale at Sotheby's auction house in London. A copy of Girl With Balloon was the last item auctioned at the Saturday event, and one lucky art collector had a brief moment of victory - or whatever one feels after splurging £1.04 million ($1.3 million) on a piece of art - when the hammer fell and they were declared the owner of an original Banksy work.
However, moments after said hammer clanged down to close the deal, the picture began to self-destruct. Art collectors in the room were left stunned as about half the canvas passed through a shredder fitted inside the bottom of the frame, leaving strips of the painting to dangle limply against the wall.
It appears the remotely-activated shredder was all part of Banksy's design, which is really a pretty edgy thing for an artist to do, but probably also a bit of a bummer for the person who forked out a milly for the pic.
Sharing a video of the incident, Banksy revealed that he's had this trick up his sleeve for a few years. "A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting in case it was ever put up for auction," he wrote in a post titled with a Picasso quote: "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge". The video shows how he built the shredder into the frame.
The head of contemporary art the auction house, Alex Branczik, said fittingly: "It appears we just got Banksy-ed."
"He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius."
Branczik confirmed that he nor anyone else at Sotheby's was in on the prank, adding:
"The shredding is now part of the integral artwork. We have not experienced a situation where a painting has spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist."
And yes, while the picture is half-shredded (much to Banksy's amusement), it is now "integral" to the artwork, transforming it into a new iteration of itself.
In fact, some are estimating that the artwork could now be worth twice as much as it was sold for. Joey Syer, co-founder of MyArtBroker, told the Daily Mail that the buyer should actually be grateful that they were the butt of Banksy's joke.
"The auction result will only propel this further and given the media attention this stunt has received, the lucky buyer would see a great return on the £1.04m they paid last night," he said.
"This is now part of art history in its shredded state and we'd estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50 per cent increase to its value, possibly as high as being worth £2 million plus ($2.6 million)."
Whoa. Guess they're not so unlucky after all!