Anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy has recently made art history at the Sotheby's auction house in London. After setting up the famous work 'Girl with Balloon' to self-destruct shortly after being sold at over £1m to an on-the-phone buyer.
'Girl with Balloon', Banksy, 2006.
As soon as the hammer came down, the frame began to make alarming beeping noises, with the painting swiftly sliding through the frame and out of the bottom as shredded paper (see the video below).
Speculation circulates that the piece, 'Girl with a Balloon' has now doubled in value since the event; a concept which is drenched in irony when considering the event itself, as well as Banksy's previous stunt in New York City.
During a residency in New York, in which Banksy littered the streets' walls with graffiti works, Banksy set up a stall along Central Park selling 100% authentic and signed works for US$60 each. The biggest shock: almost no one bought them. A limited edition print of 'Love is in the Air' was sold at the stall table in New York for US$60 on that day, and at Bonham's for US$249,000 the previous year.
'Love is in the Air' Banksy, 2003.
The stunt begged the question: How much does our experience and value of art rely on context? Well, the recent event at Sotheby's has answered that for us.
The artist has since published a video showing a close look at the making of the stunt, see the video below.