Banksy banksys Banksy (and Sotheby's)
October 6, 2018 2:13 AM   Subscribe

An original, authenticated Banksy painting was sold for more than a million pounds -- and then it shredded itself.
posted by Etrigan (108 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
Performance art disguised as fine art.
posted by acb at 2:32 AM on October 6 [9 favorites]


Did they not... inspect the frame? Is that not a thing that prestigious auction houses do with art expected to sell for seven figures?
posted by lollymccatburglar at 2:38 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


Inspect it how? Poke around at the construction of something expected to sell for a million pounds and risk damaging it?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:48 AM on October 6 [9 favorites]


Art, Bristolian style, should be pronounced ERRT.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 2:49 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]


Auto-destructive Art is not exactly a new thing, but fair play to Banksy (whoever he, she or they is/are) for a nice bit of added theater
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:50 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]


Did they not... inspect the frame? Is that not a thing that prestigious auction houses do with art expected to sell for seven figures?

The whole thing - auction and reporting included - appears to be part of the performance art.
posted by fairmettle at 2:55 AM on October 6 [45 favorites]


The thing that really impresses me here is the length of the con: Sotheby's have had the picture for twelve years.
posted by simonw at 3:11 AM on October 6 [61 favorites]


The shredded art is the art. The buyer did not desperately want to own the thing that was painted, the buyer will happily show off the shredded trash to show that they could pay for it.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:24 AM on October 6 [28 favorites]


Look when you're auctioning off a painting it's only common courtesy to the artist that you plug the mysterious power cable coming out of the oddly thick frame into a convenient outlet.
posted by Pyry at 3:36 AM on October 6 [97 favorites]


@thank mr banky
posted by scose at 3:50 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


This woulda been even better if the buyers were the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, and the million pounds they paid over spontaneously combusted ...
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:54 AM on October 6 [45 favorites]


Easier - bounced cheque. Try suing, Mr. Smartypants!
posted by Meatbomb at 4:00 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


The thing that really impresses me here is the length of the con: Sotheby's have had the picture for twelve years.

And the batteries powering the shredder kept their charge for that long? That strikes me as suspicious.
posted by acb at 4:34 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]


I'd take a cross-cut shredder more seriously, but that wouldn't leave the half-shredded piece dangling out the bottom of the frame in a still fully-saleable state.
posted by russm at 4:42 AM on October 6 [11 favorites]


So...How was the shredding triggered? Was the shredder triggered wirelessly? And, if so, was Banksy in the audience to trigger the shredder at the moment the gavel went down? The article is fairly devoid of details.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:59 AM on October 6 [7 favorites]


I highly reccomend The Dark Side Of The Boom by Georgina Adam as a look into the world of buying and selling art: "Adam focuses on the ‘excesses the explosion in the market in the twenty-first century has brought in its wake,’ among which she includes ‘the active branding of art and artists as a commodity, the buying of art for investment or speculation, the temptations of forgery and fraud, conflicts
of interest, tax evasion, money laundering [and the] pressure to produce more and more art.’"

In that murky environment, there is little liklihood that this will have lost the piece value, and it will happily go into storage in an airside climate controlled warehouse to be part of various money laundering schemes for the rest of its existence.
posted by Vortisaur at 5:02 AM on October 6 [20 favorites]


Genius! Now the owner can sell each shred of the painting for a million a piece!
posted by Panjandrum at 5:09 AM on October 6 [6 favorites]


Love your post title, love that this happened, love the hilarious reactions to it, love life, love art. Art is alive and well and doing exactly what art should do.
posted by heyho at 5:21 AM on October 6 [17 favorites]


Well, from Banksy Instagram, looks like they were there, or had a contact in the room, and if you watch the video you can see the auction staff removing the art without any obvious unplugging.
posted by Helga-woo at 5:21 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


And I also love this.
posted by Helga-woo at 5:22 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


“It is unclear whether the prank will have destroyed or enhanced the value of the work“
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:47 AM on October 6 [15 favorites]


I love stuff like this. Art as commentary about art is some of the best art. Banksy has been doing this for years and I appreciate him existing in the same timeline as me.
posted by hippybear at 6:01 AM on October 6 [8 favorites]


I'm guessing the buyer wasn't present but was purchasing via phone proxy. I think it would have been much more effective if the buyer had actually been there, and had cried out when the shredding started.

If the buyer was there and didn't cry out, then I'd suspect a much deeper performance art planning.
posted by hippybear at 6:03 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


Given that only half the painting is shredded, and the shredded part is still attached to the painting and completely discernible , I'd say that the value of the painting has only gone up with the prank. There is no other Bansky piece like it.
posted by ShooBoo at 6:04 AM on October 6 [24 favorites]


Would Sotheby's not check (x-ray) a piece of art it intends to auction, if only to establish it is not a fake? Something like this inside the frame would surely have shown up, which means someone on the inside must have been in on it. I love the performance of it, though.
posted by fregoli at 6:14 AM on October 6


Would Sotheby's not check (x-ray) a piece of art it intends to auction, if only to establish it is not a fake? Something like this inside the frame would surely have shown up, which means someone on the inside must have been in on it. I love the performance of it, though.

Not for a modern piece bought directly from the artist. X-rays are used as part of the process of authenticating older art but wouldn't be expected here.
posted by atrazine at 6:56 AM on October 6 [6 favorites]


My five-year-old could do that
posted by thelonius at 6:58 AM on October 6 [32 favorites]


In the accompanying photo one of the auction attendees appears to be literally clutching pearls.
posted by chavenet at 7:15 AM on October 6 [19 favorites]


I went off
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 AM on October 6 [9 favorites]


My five-year-old could do that

Well, my five-year-old office shredder could; I bet your kid would not get such even cuts. Plus, it’s really hard for anyone under 10 to sneak into Sotheby’s; over 98% of attempts have failed.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:45 AM on October 6 [22 favorites]


From The Whelk's link:

The art/investment/speculation market hasn’t required actual real commodity for a long time now. It’s all abstract. They might as well be stones under the sea.

IIRC, there's a bit in On Writing about high-end rare book collecting, in which King says a lot of the time the box with the book inside never even gets opened and for all anyone knows there could be a brick in there.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:57 AM on October 6 [6 favorites]


This is some supervillain stuff.
posted by doctornemo at 8:03 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


Wow, if Salvador Dali were still alive, he'd be so jealous right now because he just melted stuff in his paintings.
posted by zaixfeep at 8:07 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


My five year old could do that.

Utah toddler puts more than $1,000 in the shredder

posted by fregoli at 8:17 AM on October 6 [35 favorites]


No one could have predicted that teaching a 2 year old to use the shredder would have ended badly!
posted by thelonius at 8:25 AM on October 6 [9 favorites]


Toddler see, toddler do.
posted by notyou at 8:27 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


If only the work had self-destructed more thoroughly. I'd love to see this backfire as the buyer refuses to take possession of a damaged piece. Banksy is insufferably tiresome at this point.
posted by explosion at 8:33 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


No one could have predicted that teaching a 2 year old to use the shredder would have ended badly!

To be fair, this is what I think about ... roughly 100% of the things I teach my toddler to do.
posted by john hadron collider at 8:38 AM on October 6 [10 favorites]


Pssh, how derivative.
posted by Westringia F. at 8:39 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


I love the people here and other places wondering if this is 'real' or not, or, even better, taking it at face value.
posted by signal at 8:40 AM on October 6


If the buyer refused someone else would pay even more for it.

The only way this would backfire is if no one bought it which will never happen.

It’s brilliant.
posted by sio42 at 8:40 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


As is my comment! Guess I should have investigated what that "6 new comments (show)" was all about.

But on a serious note, I love this.
posted by Westringia F. at 8:40 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


Money isn’t real, art less so.
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]


And the batteries powering the shredder kept their charge for that long? That strikes me as suspicious.

That part's pretty easy. Lithium primary cells (not rechargeable lithium ion), will last 20+ years.
posted by ryanrs at 8:44 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


OK, the batteries might last 20+ years, but presumably there's a radio receiver in the frame waiting for the trip signal. That receiver has got to have some standby draw. I wonder if the entire painting was supposed to shred and the batteries ran out partway through the process, leaving the painting half shredded? I also wonder if the frame might have concealed solar cells and a rechargeable battery? The bright lights in a gallery might work well with solar cells...
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 8:55 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


This stunt is hilarious. I'm normally not a fan of Banksy, or rather not a fan of their standout popularity as a street artist. (Insert cringing when people point to something by, say, Mesnager and call it "a Banksy"). But surprising people at an auction by having the work shred itself, and this the work of an artist who is notoriously uncomfortable with their art being traded, it's very good.
posted by Nelson at 9:21 AM on October 6 [8 favorites]


I'm picturing the empty frame revealing a video screen with a livestream of the Joker taunting Batman.
posted by mattholomew at 9:28 AM on October 6 [8 favorites]


So much "whoosh" here. I'm surprised. And then again, I'm not.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:53 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


Sometimes I like it when capital says "fuck you" to artistic intent, unless that was the point.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:54 AM on October 6




Didn't anyone notice what the painting was a painting of? A little girl reaching out after an escaping balloon (better view here). The real art here is the emotion conveyed -- the same emotion as when you reach desperately after your newly-bought painting as it drops through a shredder. Bloody brilliant, I say.
posted by heatherlogan at 10:52 AM on October 6 [29 favorites]


That little girl and the balloon is one of Banksy's most famous works. It's been famous for years and years.
posted by hippybear at 11:16 AM on October 6


Well, I find this a little tedious but I will forgive all if it turns out Trump is actually a very long game Banksy piece that spontaneously explodes mid jabber.
posted by Pembquist at 11:39 AM on October 6 [11 favorites]


Folks that find banksy unbearably overrated or whatever - it’s okay to skip banksy threads.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:41 AM on October 6 [16 favorites]


Bansky is far from the the worst of the ingratiating art that's out there. And at the very least his derivative ingratiating piss-takes are intentionality derivative nods to what has come before him so for that I give his art credit.
posted by nikaspark at 11:45 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


This cultural moment will enhance the value of this piece tremendously. Banksy’s art has always had an illicit, secretive, subversive quality. We don’t even know who is/are behind it. I predict there will be a puzzle with a substantial prize announced when Banksy dies, with the clues hidden in the art. The biggest fans will be most likely to receive it.
posted by metasunday at 12:09 PM on October 6


Folks that find banksy unbearably overrated or whatever - it’s okay to skip banksy threads.

No, explaining our lack of interest is the way we express our interest.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:33 PM on October 6 [5 favorites]


When I saw this news this morning I laughed and laughed. I like art. I like street art. I am a fan of this particular art stunt because it makes me laugh and it made people at the auction shit their pants. The reaction photos are great.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:41 PM on October 6 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I love this. The fact that a canvas reproduction of grafitti would sell for over 1 million pounds is hilarious in the first place (although I must note the auctioneer in the video that Banksy posted says 860 thousand) The fact that it stopped shredding halfway made me laugh and laugh.
posted by muddgirl at 1:23 PM on October 6 [6 favorites]


So am I wrong, or was this actually just a video screen displaying the artwork, which spat out the pre-shredded paper the moment it was triggered?

It looks pretty fake, to me.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:26 PM on October 6 [1 favorite]


Whatever the case, this half-shredded artwork got so much coverage I'm sure it'll triple in value immediately.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:29 PM on October 6


Also after watching the video again, there's a window on the back of the frame.

I agree that the lighting looks weird but I think they have an overhead track light illuminating the canvas.
posted by muddgirl at 1:29 PM on October 6


Also from the online auction catalogue:
Bordered by an ornate gilded frame, an integral element of the artwork chosen by Banksy himself, the present work is a kitschy emblem of pathos.
posted by muddgirl at 1:41 PM on October 6 [4 favorites]


Couldn’t this have had a passive capacitor or whatever? Where the vibrations or noise of the room would power a battery, and then the shredding could be triggered?
posted by gucci mane at 1:42 PM on October 6


If there are any other pre-framed Banksy pieces, I am sure the frames are being disassembled right now.
posted by Badgermann at 2:05 PM on October 6 [4 favorites]


Isn't the much simpler explanation that Sotheby's was in on the shredding, with the print being mounted into the shredder frame only very recently?

Plus, has it been confirmed that the print was actually shredded? Maybe what we saw was the print being rolled up and shredded version coming out of the frame.
posted by plastic_animals at 4:02 PM on October 6 [10 favorites]


The “I think it’s fake” comments are ruling this thread.
Banksy is that you?
posted by hilberseimer at 4:53 PM on October 6 [1 favorite]


“Banksy shredder was an inside job!” Banksy truthers unite!
posted by hilberseimer at 4:56 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]


Banksy's own video has a brief shot of the inside of the painting. There's a few motors and a few boxes at the top that look like lead acid gel batteries to me.

I can't explain the row of scalpel blades though - they're in the wrong orientation to cut paper and I can't see how the canvas would be fed anywhere near them.
posted by grahamparks at 5:52 PM on October 6 [5 favorites]


I can't explain the row of scalpel blades though - they're in the wrong orientation to cut paper and I can't see how the canvas would be fed anywhere near them.

Yeah, I'm in a weird state where I believe this could be real, but i don't believe the build footage. At the very least it would need a roller at the bottom to feed through the canvas, and indeed you can see on the shredded canvas a nice big crease where it was sitting round the roller for several years.
posted by muddgirl at 6:15 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


In the current context of excess, rampant corruption and white collar crime, I really hope banksy and other artists pump the gas a little here. So what if a buyer has an amusing story to tell and gets to have a long hard think about perhaps the shortcomings of materialism, and then gets a more valuable artifact as a result.

This all has a vague 32 Cambell's feel to it, at a time we need something a bit stronger to go with the news cycle. I'm just saying, I think the Joker would be disappointed.
posted by tmcw at 6:22 PM on October 6




So I was thinking, if you really wanted to create an artwork which would not merely destroy itself, but actually render itself worthless, how would you do it? Anything short of arson or another method of total physical destruction will leave an artifact remaining, an artifact which may have actually increased in value because of the stunt.

What I think is the solution is to create an artwork that doesn't try to physically erase itself, but rather to make itself legally impossible to own. Consider: you find any old dead bird that's protected by the migratory bird act, and then you burn it and make paint/pigment out of the ashes. If you make a print from the illegal bird pigment, that print is now likewise illegal. You carefully document your process but keep it a secret until the artwork is auctioned, and then you reveal that actually it's made out of totally illegal bird parts. Now the value of the artwork is totally destroyed because it can't be sold and very likely will be confiscated.
posted by Pyry at 7:18 PM on October 6 [11 favorites]


Ah, but the documentation you kept, along with photos of the artwork, can themselves become collectible, commodified art.
posted by muddgirl at 7:21 PM on October 6 [7 favorites]


The documentation is a youtube video with an unlicensed audio soundtrack and also mickey mouse is in there just to make it doubly copyright infringing.
posted by Pyry at 7:23 PM on October 6 [13 favorites]


Pyry: You are possibly the social commentary performative art artist we need in these troubled times.
posted by hippybear at 7:24 PM on October 6 [12 favorites]


So I was thinking, if you really wanted to create an artwork which would not merely destroy itself, but actually render itself worthless, how would you do it?

Sateen Dura-Luxe house paint and colored tape seems to accomplish that pretty well from what I have read.
posted by TedW at 7:25 PM on October 6 [5 favorites]


Pyry: "then you reveal that actually it's made out of totally illegal bird parts. Now the value of the artwork is totally destroyed because it can't be sold and very likely will be confiscated."

All sorts of stolen artwork gets sold and traded every single day. I'm sure any work made with illegal to possess bird parts would have no trouble finding a market and may even see it's value increase because of it.
posted by Mitheral at 8:18 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


IIRC, there's a bit in On Writing about high-end rare book collecting, in which King says a lot of the time the box with the book inside never even gets opened and for all anyone knows there could be a brick in there.

Old idea.

If you make a print from the illegal bird pigment, that print is now likewise illegal. You carefully document your process but keep it a secret until the artwork is auctioned, and then you reveal that actually it's made out of totally illegal bird parts. Now the value of the artwork is totally destroyed because it can't be sold and very likely will be confiscated.

An illegal sale would be voidable (at the very least). Buyer gets his money back.

I'm not particularly against this Banksy stunt, it just strikes me as very middle-of-the-road. In fact, if this buyer were particularly motivated, there's a decent chance they could get their money back. In the absence of such an action, what this tells us is that the market isn't at all fazed by this and can easily incorporate it into its imaginary scale of value. I mean: "“This is now part of art history in its shredded state and we’d estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to its value, possibly as high as being worth £2m plus.”"
posted by praemunire at 8:19 PM on October 6 [1 favorite]


Which I'm sure is literally the point Banksy is wanting to make. "I'm a famous artist, here's a replica of one of my most famous artworks, it was sold and it shredded itself through the frame after being sold, now it's worth more... What exactly is art and what is its value and what does it mean?"

Banksy, along with their social commentary (which I truly love) has regularly commented on the art market and how it's a fake thing that both values Art and provides no value at all to ART as a concept that makes you think about the world. The art market is about owning things. ART is about thinking about one's relationship to concepts and things. One has one kind of value, the other has another kind of value.

With artwork performances such as these, Banksy seeks to converge those divergent valuations placed on art and hopes to destroy the first and emphasize the second.

They've been playing with this concept all along the while, beginning with their use of graffiti as a primary canvas. What is more loathed and suddenly more valuable than spray paint on a wall?

This piece is genius and if you think about it for a while, its meaning gets bigger and bigger until it becomes something much more than its price tag.
posted by hippybear at 8:36 PM on October 6 [16 favorites]


I've only just noticed the pigeons.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:37 AM on October 7 [8 favorites]


I launch my fragrance called "Integrity"
I sell the fact that I can't be bought

[Batphone]
posted by hawthorne at 2:12 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I like Banksy's art. This event has too many meta layers for me, though.
posted by dancing leaves at 4:11 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


The engineering side of this is extremely doable with standard stuffs.

But it's not even the most exciting way modern art can self-destruct...
posted by Devonian at 5:44 AM on October 7


My favourite thing about Banksy remains Demi Adejuyigbe's "My Roommate Banksy".
posted by ITheCosmos at 6:15 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


This is FABULOUS and I LOVE ALL OF IT and I LOVE BANSKY and his brain and it's such welcome relief from the US SCOTUS/politics bullshit that it's even a fucking metaphor for that. And Brexit. And the state of the planet.
posted by yoga at 6:59 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


A shredder is quite complicated in terms of the power it needs and rollers and avoiding jams etc. I wonder if the frame simply contained a roller with half a pre-shredded painting on it - the roller then rolls in the main painting while it dispenses the shredded one. That would also make the trick repeatable.
posted by memebake at 8:26 AM on October 7 [4 favorites]


I wonder if the frame simply contained a roller with half a pre-shredded painting on it - the roller then rolls in the main painting while it dispenses the shredded one.

Exactly. And anyone could see that the Banksy video showing the guts was fake as well -- so also part of the performance.
posted by JackFlash at 10:38 AM on October 7


Which I'm sure is literally the point Banksy is wanting to make. "I'm a famous artist, here's a replica of one of my most famous artworks, it was sold and it shredded itself through the frame after being sold, now it's worth more... What exactly is art and what is its value and what does it mean?"

Sorry, it just feels very 101 to me in its approach to these questions. Do people really still feel it's an important or necessary point to establish that the monetary value of a work of art, especially a modern one, has become entirely detached from its perceived beauty or integrity as an object? We've had a century of urinals and mass-reproduced images and inherently ephemeral performance art already (not to mention analysis like the Adam book).
posted by praemunire at 10:50 AM on October 7 [5 favorites]


I know "looks like a Renaissance painting" is a tired meme, but that photo really does. The expression on the face of the auctioneer is *chef's kiss*.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:16 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


I don't know if it ever got posted here, but this Banksy Bought My House article from 2015 is pretty interesting, in terms of the clues it gives about how you have to live if you want to be an internationally unrecognisable artist.
posted by memebake at 3:11 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


This wasn't mass produced at all. As Sotheby's noted in their catalogue, it's one of a kind.
posted by muddgirl at 3:23 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Sorry, it just feels very 101 to me in its approach to these questions.

Right, but thats always Banksy's approach. He takes something obvious about the modern world, like 'commuting is horrible', 'Disney is scary, and security theatre is depressing', 'Quantanamo bay is bad', 'CCTV is worrying' and executes it in a simple, memorable and often faintly illegal way.

The concept behind this piece is something like 'the art market is a nonsense driven by daft posh wankers'. And yeah, thats taken as a given by most people. But its still nice to point it out. Repeatedly.

And I think there might still be more to this story. How long ago was the setup, exactly? Was it really a shredder? Why was the price exactly the same - to the pound - as the previous Banksy auction record? And why were there pigeons in the room?
posted by memebake at 6:07 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


If you are at all interested in Banksy, and haven't done so already, watch Exit Through The Gift Shop - it's essential and amazing. Actually if you've already seen it, watch it again.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:32 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


I'm just a pleb that goes to museums sometimes. Sometimes I like something because it stirs up a visceral emotion. Sometimes I like it because it's just pretty. Or it's because it's technically awe inspiring. I'd say I'm pretty superficial in my consumption of art - I just like what I like.

I generally like Banksy because it's not that deep and I agree with most of his messages that pretty much punch me on the nose while being fun to look at. I like it for what it is.

I very much like this absurd stunt with its blunt commentary on art, the value of art, and the ridiculous participants of that realm.
posted by like_neon at 8:47 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Isn't the much simpler explanation that Sotheby's was in on the shredding, with the print being mounted into the shredder frame only very recently?

I think everyone is in on it. Sotheby's. The other bidders. The winner. The Guardian.

Our reactions are the true art piece and priceless.
posted by like_neon at 8:54 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


It's pretentious shit masquerading as punk rock. It sucks.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:04 AM on October 8


It's pretentious shit masquerading as punk rock.

It evokes punk rock for you? That's fantastic! This is a terrifically successful piece; I've really enjoyed how frustrating it's been for people.
posted by heyho at 11:39 AM on October 8 [5 favorites]


Jason Bailey wrote a well-researched piece about how it was done: Myth Busting Banksy. He concludes that the device shown in the build footage is probably real and that a few inches of the painting were pre-shredded and loaded onto a roller. Then, when the device activated, the roller pulled the rest of the canvas through the row of blades to cut it into strips.
posted by ectabo at 1:55 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]




IDGAF who knew.

This entire thing has been making me laugh repeatedly since I originally saw the news early Saturday morning. I thank Banksy for that.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:06 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Banksy isn’t the subtlest artist, but it’s not like Fountain or The Treachery of Images or L’Origine Du Monde or A Rake’s Progress are particularly quiet. People didn’t riot after hearing The Rite Of Spring because they thought it was being coy. I wonder about our ability to appreciate just how unsubtle classic art was; certainly I have a hard time looking at an impressionist work and thinking that it blew peoples’ minds at one time - and a docent telling me that it was a scandal in a salon doesn’t really drive the point home. The idea that something once caused shock seems so infinitely removed from the idea that something does shock - that something that now seems subtle once seemed egregiously loud, like 101 stuff. The fate of the world, to descend from appalling to camp.

So I dunno, but I guess I feel a lot of sympathy for dumb noisy art because we’re pretty dumb noisy people, and a lot of people need a pie in the face to get the point. (A note: I told someone today that the work would probably be worth more now that it was shredded, and they were shocked. So even as we shake our heads at how, yes, yes, this was basically performative, it also does a really good job of shining a light on the stupidity of the game for people who wouldn’t have thought about it.)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:52 PM on October 9 [8 favorites]


Halloween Costume idea: Sexy Shredded Banksy.
posted by Nelson at 10:00 AM on October 12 [4 favorites]


Banksy renames his shredded 'Girl With Balloon'; winning bidder will go through with her $1.4 million purchase (Deborah Vankin, LA Times)
The anonymous buyer says the work marks a seminal event.

“When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked,” she said in a statement, “but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”

To mark the fact that the work, after its transformation, is now an entirely new piece, Banksy has renamed the painting. It’s now: “Love Is in the Bin” (2018). His official authentication body, his company Pest Control, has recertified the work and granted it a new certificate.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:46 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]




ck.
posted by grahamparks at 2:13 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Shredding the Girl and Balloon - The Director’s half cut. Short video, or read BoingBoing's summary.
the "Girl With Balloon" shredding stunt malfunctioned at Sotheby's, noting that it "worked every time" in rehearsals.
posted by Nelson at 8:18 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


The Deal of the Art
Maybe we should take Banksy at his word. Or, more generously, we could attribute to his motives the idea, very much implied by his wayward Picasso quotation, of Schumpeter’s gale. If the urge to destroy is creative, and if capitalism relies on creative destruction, perhaps Banksy is hinting that his intention was to increase the value of his work by destroying it. The proof, I think, can be found in his name, which brings to mind a small, one-man bank. If that doesn’t convince you, look to the latest news: the artist has just re-authenticated the trash-work and renamed it “Love is in the Bin,” to the satisfaction of the original buyer. Judged as an episode of extralegal short-term price-fixing, Banksy’s act of autoshredding was an accomplishment for all involved; in the long-term, its status as the supposed first work of art created at an auction means that it will likely appreciate wildly in value. In this respect, with all things being equal, Banksy is the Thomas Kinkade of his generation, inasmuch as both rely on opportunistic financial schemes and clashing effects: Kinkade’s sinister warmth, Banksy’s dark money do-gooderism.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:40 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


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