Banksy Artwork ‘Self-Destructs’ After Selling for $1.4M at Auction

Banksy Artwork ‘Self-Destructs’ After Selling for .4M at Auction

The anonymous street artist known as Banksy just pulled off one of the greatest pranks ever seen in the art world: one of his paintings was sold for nearly $1.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London last night, and immediately after being sold, the painting self-destructed.

The 2006 spray-painted canvas painting titled “Girl With a Balloon” had a final price of £1,042,000 ($1,367,471) with the buyer’s premium.

Photo by Robert Casterline/Casterline Goodman Gallery and used with permission.

After the hammer fell, attendees suddenly heard an alarm ring out. As everyone’s attention was drawn to the painting in the large frame, it suddenly was drawn through the bottom of the Banksy-made frame and shredded.

[Update: Banksy has published this video showing how he built the shredder frame and footage of the painting being shredded:]

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“[It] sold for over a million dollars and as we sat there…the painting started moving,” Robert Casterline of Casterline Goodman gallery tells Hyperallergic. “[It was] all out confusion then complete excitement.”

Photo by Robert Casterline/Casterline Goodman Gallery and used with permission.

It turns out there was a remote-control mechanism built into the frame that shredded the painting on command. Amused attendees quickly pulled out their phones and cameras and began snapping photos with smiles on their faces.

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Two men trying to stop the shredding. Photo by Robert Casterline/Casterline Goodman Gallery and used with permission.
The wall after the painting was removed. Photo by Robert Casterline/Casterline Goodman Gallery and used with permission.

Shortly after the incident, Banksy uploaded a photo of the painting in the process of being shredded — surprised and horrified expressions can be seen on the faces of onlookers.

View this post on Instagram

Going, going, gone…

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

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The photo was captured by entrepreneur Dan Fleyshman, who was in attendance:

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The auction house says it’s in discussions with the anonymous buyer (a private collector) about the next steps. The art world is currently trying to figure out whether the painting was destroyed or transformed, and whether its value was decreased or increased.

“We’ve been Banksy-ed,” says Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European head of contemporary art. “We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context. 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.”

And thus the legend of Banksy grows.


Source: PetaPixel

Banksy Artwork ‘Self-Destructs’ After Selling for .4M at Auction