We all know artists can be a little crazy sometimes. We see their capers in the news in an attempt to “express themselves” or draw the publics attention their way. Let’s face it, we all have those moments where we do something that makes us stand out, but perhaps sometimes artists take it to the extreme. From laying under wooden ramps in empty galleries while they masturbate, voicing their opinions of the visitors in to a loud speaker (Vito Acconi – Seedbed), to displaying a crumpled and decaying bed (Tracey Emin – My Bed), artists like to cause a stir.
I am sure that most of you would have seen on the news the auction at Sotheby’s that happened on the 05/10/18. Banksy’s “Girl with Balloon” was up for sale in a heavily gilded frame. The hammer dropped at £1.4 million, and as the sale was made final the piece went in to self destruct mode, feeding through a hidden paper shredder concealed within the frame.
Auction goers looked on stunned, grabbing their phones to video the madness, as auction room attendances rushed to take the piece off the wall.
The shredding stopped half way into the picture and the auctioneer called to move the auction along as the frame disappeared out of view.
Despite the destruction, the sale still went ahead, and now the value of the piece has been estimated to have increased by 50%.
Pest Control (the company that acts on behalf of Banksy), have renamed the piece “Love is in the Bin”
A video was posted of a hooded figure setting up the frame, explaining “In case it was ever put up for auction”.
So here I have a few questions, was this really a rebellion against the piece being auctioned? Was this a rebellion towards the upper art echelons buying a piece which was created initially as a work of art which was free to view? Was this simply just a PR stunt to draw attention to the artist?
Potentially I will never know the real answer to this as we know Banksy is particularly elusive (although I welcome him to contact me and let me know the reason as occasionally artists do get in touch), but really I am leaning toward Banksy using this as a way to carve his name in to the art history books (as if that hadn’t already happened!).
Through staging a rebellious act towards the auction world, Banksy has upped his exposure, increased the value of his work, and put his name freshly on the tips of critics and reporters tongues.
Banksy is known for making a statement – his work a clear line of communication on issues that he feels need to be highlighted, be it a maid sweeping things under the carpet, or a child holding a machine gun, his work is never sat on the fence and this feels like another statement in his repertoire.
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