Banksy Painting - Who Knew It Was 'Self Destruct'?

Brenda Watkins
October 10, 2018

Yesterday, it was reported here [VIDEO] that a painting, "Girl With Balloon" by the elusive artist, Banksy, had sold for £1m on auction by Sotheby's.

The "Girl with a Balloon" image, which first debuted in 2004, has become one of the artist's most iconic creations.

Onlookers at Sotheby's in London were stunned when, just moments after selling for more than £1m, the Girl With Balloon painting shredded in front of them, coming out of the bottom of the frame in strips.

The £1.04 million sale of Girl With Balloon was the last lot of the night and equalled Banksy's previous auction record.

Banksy himself posted an Instagram picture of shocked attendees watching the painting disintegrate, with the caption: "Going, going, gone".

Alex Branczik is Sotheby's head of contemporary art, Europe, who is quoted by The Art Newspaper as saying "It appears we just got Banksy-ed", after the painting was destroyed.

Banksy is known for his subversive public art installations and graffiti murals.

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That number is only bested by the number of visitors on National Voter Registration Day, when the site had 304,942 unique visitors.

Banksy later posted a video of the self-destructing painting on Instagram in which he claimed he equipped the frame with a shredder in case the painting was ever sold.

That makes it part of world art history, according to Mr Syer, which will increase its appeal. "We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context". Sotheby's said in an e-mail statement Sunday that the successful buyer was "a private client, who was as surprised as we were, and with whom we're still in discussions".

"You'd nearly wonder if he'd recognize the fact that it would've doubled the value of the work", Benrimon adds.

Mehdi Ben Cheikh, a Parisian street art specialist, said the stunt was "in the same vein as his performance in NY, which questions and criticises the limits of the art market".

"He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius".

Banksy, a mysterious artist from Bristol, southwest England, has never confirmed his real identity.

It feels improbable on many levels that such shenanigans could have really taken places without some kind of buy-in from Sotheby's, and likewise improbable that anyone within the big-money art scene would willingly abet the destruction of a paycheck - sanctity of the actual art aside.

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