Sotheby’s Gets Banksy’ed at Contemporary Art Auction in London

In a moment that caught the art world by surprise, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon self-destructed just as the final hammer signaled the end of an evening of auctions in London. The work sold for £1,042,000 ($1.4 million).

Is this art performance or practical joke by artist? Or both?

£1M Banksy artwork shreds during auction at Sotheby in London


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Upload your art to the online Banksy Shredder.
    Lee Martin’s clever online Banksy Shredder is hosted as an editable codepen page and does exactly as you would expect.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Banksy’s Barely Believable Batteries

    [Banksy] is famous aside from his anonymity, for his pranks upon the art world. The (real) elephant in the room or the Dismalland theme park are his stock in trade, and you may have seen another prank of his in the news in the last day. One of his paintings, the 2006 Girl With A Balloon sold at auction for over a million quid, and as the gavel fell a hidden shredder in the picture frame sprang into life and partially shredded the canvas. The report suggests that a number of [Banksy]’s associates were present at the event, and that one of them was detained with a device that might have been a remote control trigger for the shredder. The quote from Sotheby’s Europe head of Contemporary Art, [Alex Branczik] says it all: “We got Banksy’d”.

    [Banksy]’s cool and all that, but where’s the hack? The artist briefly put up a video with a few details,

    This hasn’t stopped some fevered speculation as to how the feat was achieved. A home-made shredder would require a significant amount of readily available power, and since this one has seemingly lain undetected within the frame since 2006

    An artwork by Banksy shredded itself after selling for $1.3 million at Sotheby’s.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    So Banksy put a video on Instagram and deleted it almost immediately about the whole shredder in the painting.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EEVBlog #1131 – £1M Prank – Banksy Artwork Shredded! HOW?

    A look at how the Banksy artwork prank “Girl with a Balloon” shredded itself moments after being sold for £1M at a Sotheby’s auction.
    How long did it sit idle waiting to be triggered?, and was this actually possible?!-how/

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WORKING Miniature BANKSY Self-Destruct Artwork Shred

    This is more fascinating than the actual painting itself

  6. Regan Rau says:

    Neat Web site, Maintain the useful job. Thank you so much.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Life Imitates Art: 3D Printed Banksy Frame “Shreds” Oeuvre, Prints Money

    [Dave Buchanan] is giving the world his own take on the now famous shredding Banksy frame. This version has a few extra features though – like reverse shredding and printing money!

    [David] took his inspiration straight to CAD software, and designed a miniature version of the frame. A quick trip to the 3D printer and he had the actual frame in hand. He even hand-painted his own copy of Girl with Balloon on canvas. Assembly didn’t quite go as planned, a few parts had to be adjusted — i.e. cut off and hot-glued together. But in the end, the hack worked

    Redesigned Banksy Frame

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Banksy and the “B Movie” – This is the Closest You’ll Ever Get to Seeing Banksy

    Banksy’s identity remains top secret, and this is the closest you’ll get to seeing him…

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Banksy’s rigged art frame was supposed to shred the whole thing

    In the connected future will anyone truly own any thing? Banksy’s artworld shocker performance piece, earlier this month, when a canvas of his went under the hammer at Sothebys in London, suggests not.

    As we reported at the time, the anonymous artist had spent years planning this particular prank. Yet the stunt immediately inflated the value of the canvas — some suggested by as much as 50% — despite the work itself being half shredded, with just a heart-shaped balloon left in clear view.

    The damaged canvas even instantly got a new title: Love Is in the Bin.

    However it turns out that the shredder malfunctioned. And had in fact been intended to send the whole canvas into the bin the second after it sold.

    Or, at least, so the prankster says — via a ‘director’s cut’ video

    It’s almost as if Banksy is trying to warn us that technology is eroding ownership, concentrating power and shifting agents of control.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Banksy video shows plan to shred entire Girl With Balloon artwork

    Artist’s video depicts practice run in which piece is entirely destroyed, alongside words ‘In rehearsals it worked every time …’

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EEVblog #1136 – Banksy Artwork Shredder – Part 2 (Still Trolling!)

    Banksy posted an update video showing more of the prank build and the shredding mechanism. But he’s still trolling us!

    Shredding the Girl and Balloon – The Director’s half cut

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Banksy: How Love is in the Bin’s shredding did not go to plan

    The partial shredding of a Banksy artwork didn’t go entirely to plan, the artist has confirmed.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How to pull a Banksy and build an in-frame picture shredder

    So how did Banksy pull off this widespread attention-getting stunt, squeezing all the necessary electrical and mechanical components inside the frame … and how can you replicate (if not one-up) it on your own? Details on Banksy’s setup are sparse at best, but in combination with my own engineering chops, I’m going to take a stab at answering these questions.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Be Like Banksy: Here’s How

    So how did Banksy pull off this widespread-attention–getting stunt, squeezing all of the necessary electrical and mechanical components inside the frame — and how can you replicate (if not one-up) it on your own?

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Banksy Shows How He Rehearsed Art-Shredding Stunt After $1.4 Million Auction

    It was the stunt that stunned the art world and the elusive artist behind it is now out to prove it really happened. Anonymous British artist Banksy made heads spin when his “Girl With Balloon” canvas shredded in front of a crowd after it sold at auction for $1.4 million, but many speculated about whether he was telling the truth, claiming the painting didn’t shred at all. Others believe the auction house was in on it.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Who is Banksy?

    Banksy is perhaps the most mysterious and subversive artist alive, for years people have been trying to figure out who’s behind these works.

    Beginning of the video: Who is Banksy? Ending of the video: Who is Banksy?

    Who is Banksy? A graffiti artist!

    You think you want to know who Banksy is but knowing would take away the magic of his work.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Banksy’s 10 Most Amazing Works Of Art!

    Check out Banksy’s 10 Most Amazing Works Of Art! Banksy is an England-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director of unverified identity and this is his 10 most amazing works of art.


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