By Staff Writer Eric Sousa.
On October 5th, a famous painting created by the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy was sold at the Sotheby auction house in London for $1.4 million. That is a normal occurrence that is supposed to happen.
What is not supposed to happen is have the painting shred itself inside the makeshift-frame moments after the sale. That is most certainly not what is supposed to happen, and the polite-society art world was shook.
However, hijinks and controversy seem to be the calling card for this counterculture artist; this was Banksy’s most recent prank, and it struck gold.
When the painting was bid for, the audience didn’t know the famous work Girl with Red Balloon would whir, beep, and commit seppuku upon itself.
However, when all was said and done, the painting’s new worth was found to have doubled in value to $2.8 million.
Video footage from the Sotheby auction house shows a man inside the building use a hidden remote the moment the art piece was sold. Sotheby security took the man in for questioning, but his identity was not revealed.
The auction house claimed to have no knowledge of the stunt prior to its action.However, there is some evidence to support they were partially in on the heist. Evidence #1; the art piece was featured last in the lineup. If it had been earlier, the climax would have disrupted following auctioned pieces.
Evidence #2; the piece was hung on a back wall instead of being placed on a podium, which is standard for small pieces.
Evidence #3; the remote-using man passed through strict security to enter the building.
Evidence #4; picture frames aren’t normally heavy, and having a built-in shredder would significantly add mass to the frame.
How did this not raise suspicion upon inspection for authenticity?Are these findings suspicious? Yes. Conspicuous? Most definitely. Iridescent? Maybe, I don’t fully know what that word means. But it seems as if a lot of pieces had to fall perfectly into place for this stunt to work, and Banksy doesn’t seem the sort to leave it up to chance.
Whether or not Sotheby Auction House was alerted to some degree, it doesn’t change the fact that Banksy set out to make a statement, and he most certainly achieved that goal. After the reveal, his Instagram featured a video of his art being shredded with the caption, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”- Picasso. Banksy’s works of art are often riddled with controversy, such as his Guantanamo Bay prisoner in Disneyland.
If you’re curious how he pulled off this heist, Banksy’s documentary Exit through the Gift Shop is a must see.
Regardless, Banksy has yet again shown the public that he has his finger on the pulse when it comes to controversial art stunts.
The fact that his half-destroyed piece doubled in value is staggering, but not surprising. Banksy has good business sense.
Unfortunately, other owners of Banksy’s pieces do not have that same business sense. The prank spawned a plethora of copycat artists thinking it was a good idea to destroy their original Banksy’s in hopes of increasing the value.
This falls under the old adage, “if your friends jumped off a bridge…” Except in this case, it’s “if Banksy artfully destroys a piece, would your destroyed piece sell for the same amount?” Experts, say no, no they would not.
One sad instance of these copycat attempts dropped an original Banksy from $84,000 to a whopping $2 after he knifed the bottom half into clumsy strips. Imitation might the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s not the most financially beneficial.
This is only one instance of non-savvy art collectors taking works of art into their own hands. Way to butcher your most expensive Flower Chucker for absolute no reason, Ferdinand.
Leave vandalism to the experts.
Banksy has had a tumultuous public opinion towards him and his antics since his spotlight first turned on.
Some applaud his messages, some others cry criminal. Some are impressed with his newer grandiose pieces, some others cry sellout.
Whatever your personal opinions are towards this mythical being of a street artist, it is impossible to deny… the guy has style.
PHOTO COURTESY: STANDARD.CO.UK