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UPDATE: Following the event at Sotheby’s, Banksy followed up with a video in which he said the plan was for the entire painting to be shredded but the shredder malfunctioned. Watch his explainer here:
Read the original story below.
Ever the merry prankster, Bristol-born artist Banksy caused quite the stir by shredding his 2006 spray paint on canvas “Girl with Balloon” painting, shortly after it was sold at a Sotheby’s auction on Friday (October 5, 2018) night. Sotheby’s did not provide info on how they acquired the painting. According to the catalog, it was purchased from Banksy by the present owner in 2006.
On Instagram, Banksy uploaded a video explaining he had build a shredder into the frame of the painting that he planned to activate were it ever sold at auction. On the video, a graphic reads, “A few years ago, I secretly build a shredder into a painting in case it was ever put up for auction…”
The video shows Banksy building the shredder into the painting and then switches to Sotheby’s where the painting is being bid on. Not long after the winning bid of £1.04 million was declared, an alarm went off and the painting began to move through the shredder. It appears only the top two-thirds of the painting was shredded.
Banksy posted/deleted this video on Instagram (@bansky) but then put it back up on the afternoon of October 6th with the caption, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge,” a quote attributed to Pablo Picasso.
“We’ve been Banksy-ed,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European head of contemporary art said at a news conference afterward. “I’ll be quite honest, we have not experienced this situation in the past, where a painting is spontaneously shredded upon achieving a record for the artist.”
Branczik emphasized he was “not in on the ruse.”
Given the infamy of the event, experts say the painting is now worth much more than the original selling price.
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