Weird

Banksy Painting Self-Destructs Immediately After Being Sold For $1.4 Million

The iconic painting passes through the shredder as stunned onlookers watch.
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Whoever purchased an iconic Banksy painting for $1.4 million on Friday was left with a pile of shredded paper.

Moments after the gavel came down on the sale of the enigmatic artist’s “Girl With Balloon” painting at Sotheby’s auction house in London, the painting passed through a shredder that had apparently been hidden in the frame. 

The artwork, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, showed one of the artist’s most well-known images ― a young girl reaching her hand toward a red, heart-shaped balloon.


Sothebys

The iconic painting passes through the shredder as stunned onlookers watch.

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director, said in a press release from the auction house.

Banksy, the world-famous artist whose identity is still a mystery, posted a photo of the shocking moment on Instagram, captioning the image, “Going, going, gone…”

He also posted a video confirming that he had secretly built a shredder into the painting, “in case it was ever put up for auction.” He captioned the post, “‘The urge to destroy is also a creative urge’ – Picasso.”

It wasn’t clear how the shredder was triggered. 

Branczik maintains that he was not “in on the ruse” and speculated Banksy may have attended the auction incognito and somehow triggered it himself, according to Vice.

The painting, pre-shredding.


Sothebys

The painting, pre-shredding.

While the moment would likely be a disappointment if the buyer was planning to display the painting, The Guardian noted that the historic stunt could potentially have increased the artwork’s value. As Sotheby’s noted, the incident “certainly marks the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer.”

This story has been updated to include Banksy’s video about the shredder.




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