Renowned and anonymous artist Banksy set the art world on fire when he pulled a prank on Sotheby’s auction house in London. After being sold for  $1.4 million, Banksy’s “Girl and Balloon” spray paint on canvas was shredded inside the frame it was house in. 

“A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting,” Banksy explained on a video posted on Instagram. “In case it was ever put up for auction.”

However, the prank didn’t execute 100% to plan. The top portion of the painting didn’t get fully shredded. In a behind the scenes video created by Banksy, the artist explained that the hidden shredder actually jammed. 

Banksy is well known for his critical and satirical approach to his work. His recent ruse is most likely critiques the opulent world of art. Pricing is subjective to the buyer and pieces by famed artists are fetching multi-million dollar price tags. It’s almost ironic for a Banksy piece to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s because it’s street art. It’s meant to be on the streets, enjoyed by passer-byers or painted over by other graffiti or street artists. By shredding his piece that sold for $1.4 million, Banksy makes it seems silly to trip out over its destruction. 

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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