In 2016, graffiti artist Banksy installed a shredder into one of his canvasses entitled it “Girl With Balloon.”
Just last week, Sotheby's auction house in London sold the painting to the highest bidder for $1.37 million. The picture subsequently tore to shreds.
“A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting…in case it was ever put up for auction…”Banksy
People are wondering whether someone at Sotheby's was in on the prank or whether it was just careless. Purveyors of modern art do consider frames as part of the artwork, so it's possible that Sotheby's never thoroughly examined the painting on purpose.
Either way, the self-destructing painting makes a mockery of the commercialization of art. Banksy quotes Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”
Given Banksy's triumph and his legendary status in art world folklore, the only question people are asking now is how much the demolished painting will be worth in the future. Guaranteed the new owner is already there picking up the scraps.