Onlookers looked on shocked ……………………..
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art.
With a direct strike against the grotesque economic inequality that is ravaging societies around the globe, the artist Banksy pulled off a spectacular stunt Friday night when a piece of his artwork—a painting titled “Girl With Balloon” which had just sold for an outrageous $1.4 million—self-destructed right before the eyes of the shocked plutocrats viewing it at the Sotheby’s auction in London.
With a secret shredder hidden within the walls of the painting’s frame, the incident was capture live on video and Banksy himself used his Instagram feed to show the shocked look on the faces of those witnessing the moment as he declared: “Going, going, gone…” to his millions of followers.
Banksy has played what could be one of the most audacious stunts in art history, arranging for one of his best-known works to self-destruct after being sold at auction for just over £1m.
Girl With Balloon was the final item in an auction at Sotheby’s in London on Friday night and its sale price equalled the artist’s previous auction record of £1.04m.
Shortly after the hammer came down on the item, however, the canvas began to pass through a shredder installed in the frame.
Banksy posted an image on Instagram of the shredded work dangling from the bottom of the frame with the title “Going, going, gone … ”
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art in Europe.
Sotheby’s said in a statement to the Financial Times: “We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprised by the story. We are in discussion about next steps.”
The auction house declined to reveal the identity of the buyer.
On Saturday evening, Banksy posted a video on his Instagram page which showed a shredder being fitted to the frame of the painting.
It opened with the caption: “A few years ago, I secretly built a shredder into a painting.”
The clip shows a hooded figure putting the finishing touches on the device, before text appears on the screen saying: “In case it was ever put up for auction.”