Culture / Art Republik

$1.4 Million Banksy Auction Artwork Shredded After Successful Bid

Hidden shredder within frame of Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” shreds the $1.4 million dollar artwork in prank after it sold to highest bidder

Oct 07, 2018 | By Jonathan Ho

Sotheby’s just got Banksy’ed during their Contemporary Art Auction in London. A framed version of Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” self-destructed via shredder moments after the winning US$1.4 million dollar bid was placed. Banksy’s iconic artwork was destroyed mere seconds after the winning bid to the sound alarms within the painting and then, the Girl with Balloon canvas started to pass through a hidden shredder in the frame.

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” – Alex Branczik, Senior Director and Head of Contemporary Art, Europe London

$1.4 Million Banksy Auction Artwork Shredded After Successful Bid

The anonymous England-based street artist, political activist, and film director is known for his satirical epigram artworks and socio-political commentary combining his blend of dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique. Most notably, Banksy is famed for not selling photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, previously, art auctioneers have attempted to sell his stencilled art at the various street locations he vandalised and leave the issue of removal to the winning bidder.

Banksy’s latest act of vandalism keeps in the same vein of his political and social commentary leading Alex Branczik, Senior Director and Head of Contemporary Art, Europe London to opine, “It appears we just got Banksy-ed.”

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Going, going, gone…

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

The framed Girl with Balloon, depicted one of Banksy’s most iconic images – a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart shaped balloon – executed in spray paint and acrylic on canvas, was mounted on a board. It began to slide into a shredder secretly mounted into the base of the frame. It appears that Banksy himself was present at the auction, filming the entire drama on instagram with a caption “Going, going, gone…” and then followed up with another video 7 hours ago, revealing how he conceived the prank, which he designed as a “fail-safe” in case it went to auction.

“This is now part of art history in its shredded state and we’d estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to its value, possibly as high as being worth £2m plus.” – Joey Syer, MyArtBroker.com co-founder

In a statement released by Sotheby’s, the reputed auction house is in talks with the successful bidder with regard to next steps following the destruction of Girl with Balloon canvas. According to Stimmel, Stimmel and Smith, a law firm specialising in auction law, Uniform Commercial Code is silent about the transfer of risk of loss at an auction sale. “Generally, the ownership of goods is irrelevant in determining which party bears the risk of loss. The essential element is the identity of the party who has control over the goods. The vendee is entitled to have the property delivered to him/her, once he/she has fulfilled the terms of the sale. At this point, refusal of delivery will be considered a breach of contract.”

Having re-sold several Banksy artworks before, MyArtBroker.com stated that Girl with Balloon had enjoyed annual increases in value of about 20% in recent years. In a statement to the Guardian, MyArtBroker.com co-founder Joey Syer said, “This is now part of art history in its shredded state and we’d estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to its value, possibly as high as being worth £2m plus.”


 
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