Behind the scenes of Banksy’s glorious-but-failed shredder stunt

Now that’s art.
Now that’s art.
Image: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
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Banksy’s Girl With Balloon sold for $1.4 million at an auction last week—and was promptly destroyed by a shredder hidden in its frame. The street artist has now posted a “director’s cut” of how the stunt was pulled off.

The video and its caption confirm that something went wrong—the shredder hidden in the ornate frame around the artwork was supposed to shred the whole thing. Banksy’s people had insisted throughout the sales process that the artwork and the frame were inseparable. They said “the frame is integral to the art work,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art in Europe, told the BBC. ”Which it was, just not in the sort of way that we thought.”

The clip, which has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube, also reveals the hand of someone (perhaps the reclusive Banksy himself?) pressing a button in what appears to be the auction room at Sotheby’s, setting off the shredder.

Because of its uniqueness as the first piece of art ever created at an auction, the artwork—now retitled “Love is in the bin”—is now thought to be worth more than double the original version. Who knows what everyone would have done if the shredder hadn’t malfunctioned and instead left the stencil in a pile of shreds on the floor?