Art is an essential part of human expression and experience. From cave paintings dating back hundreds of thousands of years to modern street art, it all plays an important role how human beings see and synthesize the world around them.
One mysterious and highly famed modern artist shook up the art world last week while his painting was on auction. One study puts 48% of homeowners planning to decorate their homes in 2018, but this unnamed European art collector was bidding for an original Banksy painting.
At Sotheby’s in London, Banksy’s world-famous piece “Girl With Balloon” was being auctioned. A piece that’s been recreated innumerable times, it hung framed on the wall at Sotheby’s where it would soon play a juicy prank on the art world. After the counterculture fashion of Banksy’s art, when the final bid had been placed for $1.4 million, the painting shredded itself.
As soon as the gavel dropped and declared the new recipient of the painting as victorious, it fell through a shredder that was built into the frame, partially destroying it. The crowd didn’t know what to do and video shows people confused and astonished at what was unfolding in front of them. A far cry from the 40 million used cars that change hands every year between private and corporate sellers, Sotheby’s just watched a buyer’s $1.4 million piece of art history literally shredded before their eyes. A prank that will go on to make the piece priceless.
Then the speculation began. Banksy’s reputation as both artist and mischievous prankster had people wondering if Sotheby’s was in on the prank. They denied any prior knowledge. Later, on Banksy’s own Instagram, he posted a video showing him making the frame with the concealed shredder.
“A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting. In case it was ever put up for auction,” he writes in the video.
Apart from suspicions, the woman who won the auction began working with Sotheby’s to discuss next steps. Originally aghast at her investment being destroyed the moment she bought it, she realized that moments like that make art.
“When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history,” she said.
The painting has been renamed “Love is in the Bin” and is being called the first artwork in history to have been created during a live auction by the head of contemporary art for Europe at Sotheby’s.
Another prank, another immortalized moment in the world of modern art.