What Was the Biggest Art World Prank?

Banksy is an anonymous street artist from England known for elaborate pranks and an irreverent, anti-establishment attitude. His satirical graffiti, produced in a distinctive stenciling style, can be found on streets, walls, and bridges around the world. Banksy earned star status after his 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop was featured at the Sundance Film Festival and nominated for an Academy Award. In October 2018, a framed version of his iconic spray paint-and-acrylic work Girl with Balloon was sold at a Sotheby’s auction house in London for £1.042 million ($1.4 million USD). However, moments after the sale was completed, a device hidden inside the frame began shredding the artwork, much to the amazement and horror of the auction participants. On Instagram, Banksy quipped: “Going, going, gone.”

Off the wall:

  • It is believed that the shredding was activated by someone with a remote control. The buyer completed the sale, and it’s thought that the prank made the half-shredded work even more valuable.

  • Sotheby’s later described the partially-shredded piece as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.” Banksy renamed the work Love Is in the Bin.

  • Banksy has since released a video indicating that the artwork was supposed to shred completely. “In rehearsals it worked every time,” the video claimed.

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More Info: CNN

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