Banksy piece shreds itself after selling for record price

NewsBlogRead Watch Banksy shred Girl With Balloon after it sold for over £1 million
By Brendyn Lotz

NewsBlogRead Watch Banksy shred Girl With Balloon after it sold for over £1 million By Brendyn Lotz

In a video posted on Instagram, Banksy revealed the details of the custom-made frame, which included a shredder "in case it was ever up for auction".

Girl With Balloon had initially appeared on a wall in Great Eastern Street, London.

Girl With Balloon, which depicts the image of a lone young girl stretching to reach out to a red balloon, is one of Banksy's most iconic works and has enjoyed a consistent appreciation in value.

The artist Banksy is known for elaborate hijinks, from masking his (or her) identity to his latest destructive, headline-grabbing stunt that's now driving up the price of an already expensive artwork.

"It was a brilliant PR stunt", said Offer Waterman, a dealer in 20th-century British art who attended the auction but left before the sale of the Banksy.

He made that very clear in 2007, when he posted an image on his website of a packed auction room bidding on a framed painting of the words: "I can't believe you morons actually buy this shit".

But what may come as a surprise to you, is that some art-market watchers said the work could now be worth more in its shredded state, than it was intact.

Andipa said that he viewed the painting at the preauction exhibition and pointed out to Sotheby's staff members what he termed the "disproportionate" thickness of the frame (concealing the shredding device).

Whether the Banksy painting's final bidder is expected to pay "as is" for the painting is unclear.

Earlier Saturday, Banksy had posted a photo of the shredded work with a caption, imitating an auctioneer, that read: "going, going, gone". Its stencil has been repeated in an edition of 150 prints and 25 numbered paintings by Banksy.

The Sotheby's listing for the piece notes that it was "Authenticated by Pest Control".

"We've been Banksy-ed", said Alex Branczik, the head of contemporary art at Sotheby's in Europe, at a news conference following the event.

Banksy was also claimed to have been pictured this year after one of his work's appeared on the disused Scott Street Bridge in Hull.

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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