A statement about art or an accident? That was the debate recently when the painting “Girl with a Balloon” by the famously anonymous English street artist called Banksy “self-destructed” during a Sotheby’s London sale. The painting of a girl reaching for a red balloon had just sold for $1.4 million. Minutes after the gavel came down on the sale, a whirring sound was heard as a shredder apparently built into the frame turned on. The canvas slid down and at least a part of it ended up in strips.

Sotheby’s declared it had been “Banksy’d.” The British street artist is well-known for his stunts. In 2004, Banksy snuck into the Louvre and hung his version of the Mona Lisa, with a yellow smiley face, face. In 2013, he set up a stall in a New York City market and started selling his artwork (worth thousands … or millions) for $60.

Soon after the Sotheby’s shredding incident, Banksy put a video up on Instagram that purportedly shows how he built a paper shredder into the frame of the 2006 painting.

Instead of, shall we say, shredding the painting’s value, some art experts are now saying, due to the ensuing publicity, that the buyer could see at a minimum a 50-percent increase in the painting’s value, up to possibly $2.6 million now. Remember, the artist altered the picture by shredding it. Don’t do this to your favorite picture!

When asked why he built a shredder into the frame, Banksy reportedly quoted Picasso, saying, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”



Photo (Girl with a Balloon): Irish Sun