Banksy shocks art world by shredding million-dollar work at auction


Prankster artist Banksy has revealed how he carried out his biggest stunt yet.

"Girl With Balloon", one of the most recognized works of the England-based street artist known as Banksy, fetched a hefty $1.37 million (£1.04 million) at a Sotheby's auction in London on Friday.

If the owner of "Girl with Balloon" brought a civil suit against Banksy for vandalizing this painting, it could puncture the allure of his illegal and destructive work.

Soon afterwards the artist posted a video of the scene with the caption "Going, going, gone", leading some to say Banksy himself was the buyer, in collaboration with Sotheby's.

Alex Branczik is Sotheby's head of contemporary art, Europe, who is quoted by The Art Newspaper as saying "It appears we just got Banksy-ed", after the painting was destroyed.

Banksy posted video of the event on Instagram, which showed stunned auction-goers watching as an alarm sounded before the painting slipped through the frame and shredded roughly half of the canvas into ribbons.

"The post was captioned: "'The urge to destroy is also a creative urge' - Picasso".

Is it really credible that Banksy would give the painting away with an embedded, remote-controlled, battery-operated shredder, that would activate 12 years later?

Bansky shocked the art world when he remotely shredded a copy of the print immediately after it was sold at auction for more than £1 million on October 7.

More news: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend Mental Health Summit

In an idiotic footnote to the stunt, one owner of a Girl with Balloon shredded his copy of the work, valued at £(US$53,000) with a Stanley knife believing it would also appreciate in value.

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

The auction house noted that the frame was a selling point for the work of art.

Now, Banksy has revealed how he did it.

Mr Gunningham, 45, from Bristol, was first "unmasked" as the real Banksy in 2008, but has since made no moves to deny or confirm the report.

The artwork was signed and dedicated and the vendor acquired it from the artist in 2006, the auction house said.

Could this man with the camera be the anonymous artist in action?

"It was a brilliant PR stunt", Offer Waterman, a dealer in 20th-century British art, who attended the art auction, told The New York Times.