Banksy piece sells at auction for record price, then shreds itself

Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, October 7th, 2018 - 29 comments
Categories: capitalism, Media, youtube - Tags:

In my personal opinion the English artist Banksy is one of the best artists of our time.

His art captures the absurdity of our times and is trenchantly anti corporate. It focusses on ordinary people and ordinary scenes but adds in an element of pathos.

His identity is unknown. Despite his potential ability to attract huge attention and wealth he shuns publicity and instead concentrates on his art.

Some of his art is contained in this video.

He has attracted recent attention by building a shredder into one of his pieces and having it self destruct at the moment of sale for a record price.

Jill Lawless at boston.com has the details:

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 1.04 million pounds ($1.4 million).

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, emerging 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…”

And here is the video:

Lawyers will have a field day. I presume that Banksy owned the piece and that it had not as yet been paid for.  But a bigger fuck you to wealthy art collectors could not be imagined.

29 comments on “Banksy piece sells at auction for record price, then shreds itself”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Probably worth more now. It’s a one off!

    • AB 1.1

      Most likely – piece the strips together in a way that clearly shows that it’s been shredded, while retaining some sense of the original image. The famous shredded Banksy will be worth double at least.
      The only way to stop this sort of speculative insanity is to shred everyone in the room – but then I abhor violence.

  2. veutoviper 2

    Absolutely brilliant! I cannot stop watching this and laughing.

    • Sanctuary 2.1

      To the credit of some of the people in the room, they laughed when they knew they’d been outfoxed.

      Sucks to be the seller or buyer though. I wonder what the legal position is. it had been sold, but the buyer had not yet taken possession.

      I would guess Sotherby’s might legally be in the hole – the auction was concluded, so the seller should get their money.

      The buyer meanwhile had not yet taken possession.

      I guess the small print will be read with great interest by the lawyers of all parties!

      • veutoviper 2.1.1

        Yes, it really is a legal dilemma as a sale had basically been entered into! If Sotheby’s is the one caught out I will laugh even harder.

        BUT what I want to know is HOW.

        Yes, I’ve seen Banksy’s video of making the shredder but HOW was it activated?

        Was Banksy in the room for the sale?

        What sort of device was it, taking into account that this one was “a 2006 copy of the artwork”?

        Quote from the Wikipedia entry which has already been updated.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloon_Girl

        So many questions, so few answers …

        • Dennis Frank 2.1.1.1

          Just saw it on the evening tv news, very clever performance art! Since the tv camera captured the shredding as it started, zooming in over audience heads, seemed like it was immediately after the close of the sale.

          So if the artist wasn’t present, a collaborator was, perhaps texting the artist “sold”, and the remote control signal was sent. Hiding the shredder in the frame of the picture was a cool combo of art & craft. Reporter said the value of the artwork doubled immediately. Shredding seemed to stop about two-thirds of the way, which largely preserves structural integrity (dangling vertical strips) – wouldn’t surprise me if that was intentional, to mollify the buyer. Smart.

    • Anne 2.2

      I loved the way the auctioneer swiftly had the painting removed and directed everyone to move on – nothing to see here folks. It’s all a mirage. 😆

  3. Sacha 3

    Banksy’s short video of him preparing the shredder frame: https://www.instagram.com/p/BomXijJhArX/?taken-by=banksy

  4. SaveNZ 4

    Great artist

  5. Stunned Mullet 5

    brilliant

  6. Brian Tregaskin 6

    Robert Del Naja (aka 3D from British trip-hop band Massive Attack) is rumoured to be Banksy
    https://www.reddit.com/r/changemyview/comments/9lvv7v/cmv_banksys_real_name_is_robert_del_naja_and_he/

    Both started their careers in Bristol: Robert Del Naja was born in Bristol and between 1983-1989, he performed with the Bristol-based band The Wild Bunch. Banksy’s origin is unknown, but he started his career with freehand graffiti art as part of Bristol’s DryBreadZ Crew in the 1990s.
    Both have similar art styles: Robert Del Naja is a well-known visual artist who brought the stencil graffiti movement to Bristol. Banksy is an even more well-known graffiti artist who frequently uses stencils. Others have noted similarities in their art styles.
    Both claim to be friends with each other: Robert Del Naja has told the Daily Mail that Banksy is a “mate” who has “been to some of the [Massive Attack] gigs”. Banksy wrote the intro to Robert Del Naja’s book “3D & the Art of Massive Attack”, where he cites Robert Del Naja as an inspiration.
    Both have connections to Portishead’s Geoff Barrow: Geoff Barrow interned at Bristol’s Coach House studio at the same time a Massive Attack album was recorded, and the two men organised a charity concert in Bristol for Tsunami Relief in 2005. George Barrow produced the entire soundtrack to Banksy’s “Exit through the Gift Shop”.
    New Banksy murals appear in cities where Massive Attack perform: Journalist Craig Williams has noted at least six instances where a Banksy mural has appeared shortly before or after a Massive Attack performance in the same city, which helped spark this entire theory.
    In an interview, musician Goldie, who knows Robert Del Naja, accidentally calls Banksy “Robert” (with an awkward pause afterwards):

    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/massive-attack-make-waves-with-political-show-in-romania-07-25-2018
    Massive Attack Concert Makes Political Waves in Romania
    Anti-government slogans were displayed at a Massive Attack concert on Tuesday in Bucharest – another sign of how music festivals have become popular venues for protest against the ruling party.
    British trip-hop band Massive Attack made waves in Bucharest after displaying messages supporting Romania’s anti-corruption activists at a concert on Tuesday night in the capital.

    Some of the lines displayed on giant screens were political messages on global issues such as immigration and racism.

    But they also featured slogans used by Romanian anti-corruption protesters, who have taken to the streets to denounce legislation that they say threatens the rule of law.

    One line shown at the concert was “At night, like thieves” – slogan used by anti-corruption protesters against a government decree adopted on January 31, 2017 at a late-night meeting.

    Another was “Budget rectification: City Hall directs 10 million to the People’s Cathedral” – referring to the sensitive topic of public funding for a costly Orthodox Christian cathedral in Bucharest, scheduled for inauguration in December 2018.

  7. Siobhan 7

    really???…someone had already purchased the painting, and was now on selling it.

    It never came withthe condition not to onsell.

    Anonymous seller, Anonymous buyer.

    Of a Banksy in a gilt frame.

    It wasn’t a piece of street art that had been pilfered and privatized by the elites.

    This seems very much a publicity stunt for the amusement of the art buying class.

    I’m sure they will be terribly amused by that naughty little banksy for at least a week…

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    Lol
    ..lol

    “sorry, could I have your attention”

  9. mary_a 9

    Ha ha genius Banksy giving 🖕 to the vulgar elites. Love it.

  10. Incognito 10

    Brilliant!

    This work of art in motion has masterfully drawn in a global audience that is now an intrinsic and indefinite part of this piece to spread a powerful message or two; it is so much more than a publicity stunt or a one-finger salute.

    The symbolism of the Balloon Girl that gets shredded is no coincidence IMO; humanity is shredding itself in the pursuit of money, prestige, power, etc.

    Art is essentially only about meaning, not about the price it fetches at a so-called art auction. The paradox is that we give meaning to money, for example, which is intrinsically worthless, and we should shred this. Not literally, but the futile pursuit of things that don’t really matter.

    That’s the message & meaning I give this.

    • Anne 10.1

      Imo, on the money Incognito.

      The man is a genius. Up you… you greedy, sycophantic, market driven – as opposed to people driven [insert favourite descriptive expletive here].

    • veutoviper 10.2

      Well said – again. LOL. That seems to be exactly in line with Banksy’s thinking.

      I still want to know the full “How” as per my 2.1.1 above!

  11. greywarshark 11

    I think that there would be the law about something being sold having to be true to its appearance, fit for purpose etc. It was sold as a whole picture. As is. where is, couldn’t apply – it was not supposed to have a defect – disappearing. But as others have suggested it has become an original original and should be left as it is, hung by a photograph of its previous appearance.

    People are desperate to spend their money in a grandiose way. How could they be persuaded to regard humans as works of art, more wondrous than anything ever made by human hand and cough up some of that wad that is blocking the arteries to their hearts?

    Was it an installation, a reverse-installation, a manifestation, or a transformation, or an annihilation?

  12. R.P Mcmurphy 12

    art for arts sake. money for chrissake?

  13. Jimmy 13

    Not really an art guy, but yeah that was cool.

    • Jimmy 13.1

      Sad thing is, it will go for multiple millions more next week, as the shredded Banksy.
      Elite win Again!

  14. Ad 14

    If I was the highest bidder, I would proceed, and buy the shredded work.
    I would then video myself handing the cheque over to Sotheby’s.

    That means as a squillionaire I would have bought Banksy’s concept and put my purchase onto Youtube for playing evermore, and of course owned the physical thing in itself as well.

    Banksy’s Fuck You would thus be countered by a better Fuck You.

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