What a cut-up: $1.4M Banksy art piece shreds itself
LONDON — Art prankster Banksy has struck again.
A work by the elusive street artist self-destructed in front of startled auction-goers on Friday, moments after being sold for $1.4 million. In an Instagram post Saturday, Banksy claimed the dramatic artistic payoff had been years in the making.
The spray-painted canvas “Girl With Balloon” went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London, fetching more than three times its pre-sale estimate and equaling a record price for the artist.
Then, as an alarm sounded, it ran through a shredder embedded in the frame, leaving half the canvas hanging from the bottom in strips.
A post on Banksy’s official Instagram account showed the moment — and the shocked reaction of those in the room — with the words “Going, going, gone …”
A video was later posted on the account, stating: “A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting in case it was ever put up for auction.”
The video showed images of a shredder being implanted into a picture frame along with footage of Friday’s auction finale.
Sotheby’s — which had noted before the sale that the work’s ornate gilded frame was “an integral element of the artwork chosen by Banksy himself ” — appeared as shocked as anyone else.
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, head of contemporary European art at the auction house.
The spray-painted canvas “Girl With Balloon” by artist Banksy. The work self-destructed in front of auction-goers Friday moments after being sold.