And not just that. Banksy was the number-one global Twitter trend for hours during what was not exactly a slow news week. A contemporary artist trending on Twitter is not something that happens very often. This event was talked about and retweeted by people who have never seen a Banksy image in their life. In less than a day after the story broke, there were multiple internet memes based on it – for example, the American Constitution half-shredded.

This kind of global exposure is worth a lot of money. Experts suggest the painting has, at a minimum, doubled in value since the stunt.

The media has portrayed the self-shredding of the Banksy painting as a counter-cultural act—perhaps a remark upon the corporate greed of the art markets, or the pure ridiculousness of the art world in general. But this is no anti-capitalist gesture. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

Don’t get me wrong, Banksy’s stunt was more than just a quick way of making art that makes a lot of money. It was nothing short of an emotional ode to the art markets.

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