Is this what gave Banksy the idea for his shredding stunt?

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Is this what gave Banksy the idea for his shredding stunt?
Pest Control wrote back asking: “Is this some sort of joke?”

LOS ANGELES, CA.- A video Banksy posted on Instagram after the ‘Girl With Balloon’ picture shredding event at Sotheby’s shows the shredding mechanism being assembled into the frame and states that the frame was constructed “A few years ago.”

This timeframe tallies with an email exchange between Darren Julien CEO of Julien’s Auctions in the US and ‘Pest Control’ the elusive Banksy authentication service in the UK. In the email exchange Darren Julien suggested the idea of destroying artworks. The email is dated February 13, 2015. Pest Control wrote back asking: “Is this some sort of joke?”

Darren Julien says: “One can only wonder if my email to Pest Control in 2015 about destroying artworks might have triggered his astonishing response …to actually destroy one of his paintings as a coup de théâtre. It has certainly worked to further raise his profile and increase the value of his works. We can’t ever prove that the emails between me and Pest Control gave birth to the idea, but it certainly makes me wonder! We at Julien’s are honoured to have sold a lot of Banksy’s works and to be a small part of the artist’s journey. We are currently planning our next street art auction for this coming April.”

Mitchell Kaba, Director of Contemporary and Street Art at Julien’s adds: “Actions like this keep the art market interesting and exciting. We recently sold the Banksy mural ‘Slave Labour’ for over $700,000 to the artist Ron English, who then claimed he was going to paint over it and resell it for even more money. I think we are going to see more of these types of bold and daring displays in the art world in the coming years. It’s a very creative and witty way to make a statement, and to get the public’s attention.”

Banksy’s audacious stunt, arranging for one of his best-known works to self-destruct after being sold in a high profile auction at Sotheby’s for just over £1m, seems to be a nose-thumbing to the art world establishment.

Girl With Balloon was the final item in an auction at Sotheby’s in London and its sale price equalled the artist’s previous auction record of £1.04m. Shortly after the hammer came down on the item, however, the canvas began to pass through a shredder installed in the frame.

Banksy posted an image on Instagram of the shredded work dangling from the bottom of the frame with the title “Going, going, gone … ”

In a cheeky reference to this seminal art event Julien’s issued a press release recently to publicize its own sale of a Banksy in an auction of leading Street Artists. See below. The picture sold for £561,000.

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