Published: October 8, 2018
LONDON — Sotheby’s October 5 Contemporary Art sale made international headlines when “Girl With Balloon,” cataloged as a spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board, in artist’s frame, by anonymous street artist Banksy surpassed its $200/300,000 estimate to land at $1.4 million. Going more than four times the high estimate was hardly the eventful part, as following the drop of the gavel, the piece began to slide down in its frame through a shredder, which cut half of the work into a series of elongated strips.
Banksy has a history of bucking the art world, ever since his outdoor graffiti paintings began to be cut out of buildings and sold by the gallery and auction establishment. In 2013, the artist anonymously sold his works for $60 to unassuming buyers on the streets of New York City, selling a number of pieces then valued at $225,000 for $420.
Shortly after “Girl With Balloon” shredded itself, the artist released the aftermath image on Instagram with the caption “Going, going, gone…,” showing the half-shredded work and the various facial reactions from Sotheby’s staff, which ranged from amused to horrified. Following up, he released a video detailing how he placed a shredder in the frame years earlier. The captioned video read, “”A few years ago, I secretly built a shredder into a painting… In case it was ever put up for auction…”
The work may be one of the most innovative uses of the fourth dimension in art. Many news outlets are reporting interviews with dealers who speculate that the work has likely doubled in value as a result of the stunt.
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