Banksy piece shreds itself after selling for record price

Carla Harmon
October 11, 2018

Alison Young, a professor of criminology at the University of Melbourne who has studied street art and Banksy for years, said this was far from a prank gone wrong.

"Girl With Balloon", one of the most recognized works of the England-based street artist known as Banksy, fetched a hefty $1.37 million (£1.04 million) at a Sotheby's auction in London on Friday.

The work was one of several hundred copies of Banksy's iconic Girl with Balloon.

In his Instagram post, Banksy that he built the secret device and embedded it into the painting's frame "a few years ago", just "in case it was ever put up for auction". The artist also posted the Picasso quote - "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge".


It does not show how the shredder was activated, but it is thought to have been achieved through a remotely activated mechanism within the frame. Its stencil has been repeated in an edition of 150 prints and 25 numbered paintings by Banksy.

It is widely accepted that Banksy's street art career began in the early 1990s in Bristol in the United Kingdom, as part of the local DryBeadz graffiti crew.

What do you make of Banksy's stunt?

Is the "destroyed" Banksy work now even more valuable? Sotheby's has described the painting as a "framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas", and notes that it's "the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself". The artist, according to a statement Sotheby's released to the Financial Times, was "surprised by the story", and is in discussion with the auction house about next steps.


AUCTION HOUSE: Sotheby's in London auctioned the artwork shredded by Banksy recently.

Others said the stunt had increased the value of the work, while there were also theories over whether the buyer would be expected to go through with the purchase.

Social media users found Banksy's own heist method also to be "F**king brilliant!", posting support messages next to his Instagram video post.

Another 20 percent of people think Banksy is an artist called Robin Gunningham and 13 percent believe he is the artist Robert Del Naja.


"The "shredded" work is, in fact, still in one piece, ready to be exhibited in a gallery or sold at another auction", Nanay wrote.

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