'We just got Banksy-ed': balloon girl painting self-destructs at sale

Banksy planned the artwork’s self-destruction years ago More

Banksy planned the artwork’s self-destruction years ago More

Anonymous artist Banksy stunned the world again yesterday when his Girl With Balloon painting shredded itself moments after being sold for £1million. No sooner was his famous Girl With A Red Balloon auctioned for one million pounds at Sotheby's that it self destructed.

Banksy bragged about his latest stunt in a post on Instagram, where he wrote, "going, going, gone".

Following the shredding, Sotheby's senior director Alex Branczik said: "It appears we just got Banksy-ed". The artist also posted the Picasso quote - "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge".

While Banksy failed to share how the shredder was set in motion, those who attended the Sotheby's event noticed a odd man inside the crowd, prompting rumors that the destruction mechanism was activated by the elusive artist himself. It happened at Sotheby's in London, when the Banksy work was the last to be bid on, and eventually sold, for a grand total price of $1.1 million.

Whether the Banksy painting's final bidder is expected to pay "as is" for the painting is unclear.

It is widely accepted that Banksy's street art career began in the early 1990s in Bristol in the United Kingdom, as part of the local DryBeadz graffiti crew.

Banksy in 2013 set up a stand near the city's Central Park and sold 20 signed canvases of his own work for $60 each.

But just seconds after the hammer came down, the painting itself whirred into life, and fed through a shredder which had been secretly installed inside the gold frame.

According to the study conducted MyArtBroker.com, 52 percent of people think Banksy is a collective of individuals, all using his trademark tag on their work.

The video then jumped to clips of Friday's auction at Sotheby's, indicating that Banksy - or someone who works with him - was there when it happened.

But, was the auction house in on the stunt?

"We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context ..." Nor is this the first prank that Banksy has played on the public. English cited Robert Rauschenberg's "Erased De Kooning Drawing" - where the artist bought and obliterated the work of a peer - as somewhat of a precedent for Banksy's actions.

"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.

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