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…”
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.
Seemingly coinciding with Paris Fashion Week, a few new yet unconfirmed pieces from Banksy recently materialized in the French capital. We have three murals for you so far, starting with the wall above featuring a girl spray painting a damask-like pattern over a swastika, speaking to the loss of innocence and the fears of rising anti-Semitism in Europe.
Banksy is back in New York, the first time since his month-long residency back in 2013.
The iconic street artist kicked off his visit with a mural dedicated to the imprisonment of Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan, who’s watercolor painting protests the continued destruction of Kurdish territory by the Turkish military.
The black hash marks represent each of the days since Dogan has been in jail. Turkish authorities incarcerated her last March.
“I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence,” Banksy told the New York Times.
Fresh off The Walled Off Hotel project in Bethlehem where he also teamed up with producer Danny Boyl to put together a film called ‘The Alternativity’, it appears that Banksy is making the Big Apple his canvass again.
“New York calls to graffiti writers like a dirty old lighthouse. We all want to prove ourselves here. I chose it for the high foot traffic and the amount of hiding places. Maybe I should be somewhere more relevant, like Beijing or Moscow, but the pizza isn’t as good.”
Banksy opened up The Walled Off Hotel earlier this year along the wall of the occupied West Bank with the “with the worst view in the world.” More recently, he teamed up with producer Danny Boyl to put together a film called ‘The Alternativity’ which features local children and their families singing Christmas carols ‘Jingle Bells‘ and ‘Silent Night’ in Arabic and English.
The film drops just in time with Trump’s controversial move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which he also proclaimed Israel’s capital. The intermixing of art and politics is intrinsic to Banksy’s street art, but he’s hoping this event will have a real-life impact:
“There aren’t many situations where a street artist is much use. Most of my politics is for display purposes only. But in Palestine there’s a slim chance the art could have something useful to add — anything that appeals to young people, specifically young Israelis, can only help.”
Wells Baum is creating a daily blog that collects and remixes the most interesting pieces of art, beats, life, and technology from around the web. Your support goes a long way: for every contribution, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.