Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Banksy Artwork Self-Destructs After Selling for $1.4 Million

Banksy Artwork Self-Destructs After Selling for $1.4 Million

A Banksy painting has "self-destructed" just moments after selling for more than £1m.

The picture was a print of one of Banksy's most famous works - Girl With Balloon.

Bristol-born artist Banksy came to prominence through a series of satirical graffiti pieces that appeared on buildings across the country.

He claims that the NY auction house were completely unaware of the stunt, saying "The shredding is now part of the integral art work".

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An employee carries Banksy's "Girl and Balloon" at Bonhams auction house in London prior to an earlier sale in 2012.

Bidders looked shocked as the piece was torn to shred by a shredder built into the gold frame.

Mehdi Ben Cheikh, a Parisian street art specialist, said the stunt was "in the same vein as his performance in NY, which questions and criticises the limits of the art market".

The artist posted a photo of the stunt, midway through shredding, on his Instagram page early Saturday, above the caption: "going, going, gone", imitating an auctioneer.

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"We've just been Banksy'ed", Alex Branczik, Sotheby's senior director, told the crowd after the shredfest, adding he hadn't known ahead of time that this was going to happen and that "tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius".

"We have not experienced this situation in the past. where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist", Branczik said.

In August, he said he would never charge anyone to see his artworks after it emerged an unauthorised Banksy exhibition in Moscow was charging people £20 to get in.

Sotheby's in a statement said: "We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprised by the story".

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Girl With Balloon first appeared on a wall in Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, east London.

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