Oct. 6 (UPI) — “Banksy’s Girl with Balloon” painting “self-destructed” after it sold for $1.4 million in an auction in London.
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art said in a statement the painting from the famous graffiti artist Banksy “self-destructed” just as the gavel fell Friday at Sotheby’s auction house in London.
“The framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board depicted a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart shaped balloon — one of Banksy’s most iconic images — began to pass through a shredder hidden in the frame,” the statement said.
The $1.4 million sale tied the artist’s record in sales at a 2008 auction, according to the statement.
The famous graffiti artist Banksy is known for his stunts and this one “became instant art world history,” the statement said, marking the first time in auction history that a painting shredded itself after the gavel fell.
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Senior Director and Head of Contemporary Art Alex Branczik said.
Banksy, whose identity remains unknown, has pulled off other stunts in the United States such as placing a doll dressed like a Guantanamo Bay prisoner near the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride in Disneyland or loading a truck in New York’s meat packing district squeaking for help.
He has also done other stunts to send a message such as artwork of a dove with sniper mark criticizing the Palestine-Iranian conflict and other art mocking Europe’s response to the migrant crisis, privilege, and celebrity culture.
Banksy bragged about his latest stunt in a post on Instagram, where he wrote, “going, going, gone.”
It’s unclear how Banksy pulled off the stunt, but there is suspicion that maybe it was some type of remote that activated the shredding at the precise moment the hammer hit closing the auction sale.