Banksy Strikes Again: $1.4 million artwork shredded in rebellious stunt

The street artist Banksy shocked the public yet again. One of his pieces self-destructed moments after if was sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s in London earlier this month. The art piece, “Girl with Balloon,” had a shredder built into its frame, causing the work to self-shred automatically once auctioned. Some were enraged and some were amused, but most of the reactions in the room were merely shocked. Either way, the infamous artist had a point to make.

Following the incident, Banksy posted a video on his Instagram account that showed the shredder being built into the frame of the painting a few years ago. The video was followed by a Picasso quote, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”

Banksy is no stranger to controversy, after all he’s made a career off of pushing the boundaries of art all over the world. Some of his most well-known pieces are the most satirical ones. His most controversial works include “Reverse Pat Down” which depicts a young girl patting down a military officer. Back in 2005 the artist went to Palestine to paint nine illustrations across the West Bank Wall.

However, the British artist’s most recent scandal is making many people scratch their heads and ask, why wouldn’t an artist want their work to be sold? This brings up an even deeper question of art and what it represents to both the artist and the viewer. The nature of street art is temporary enjoyment.

Banksy is well known for conveying deeper messages that go beyond the art. His short-lived murals are meant to evoke an inquisition into the current political and social climate. Regardless of the life-span of his murals, Banksy never fails to leave a lasting impression on his spectators. It should be no surprise that the artist would make such a public statement against the institution of selling art.

Some are now questioning the legitimacy of the stunt and whether or not Sotheby’s was in on the self-destructive scandal. However, according to Matteo Perazzo, an Italian amateur photographer who was at the event, it wouldn’t be in Banksy’s nature to involve Sotheby’s in the stunt, according the The Guardian. “Banksy is opposed to the art establishment, so it would be weird if he had colluded with them,” says Perazzo.

A spokesperson for Banksy was quoted saying, “I can categorically tell you there was no collusion between the artist and the auction house in any shape or form.”

It’s clear that the artist prides himself in sending a deeper message through his work, and this message has gone beyond the walls of city streets and within the walls of museums and art dealers. We’ll see what the artist comes up with next.