October 6, 2018

"Banksy Painting Self-Destructs After Fetching $1.4 Million at Sotheby’s."

Nice PR.

The NYT reports:
The work, “Girl With a Balloon,” a 2006 spray paint on canvas, was the last lot of Sotheby’s “Frieze Week” evening contemporary art sale. It was hammered down by the auctioneer Oliver Barker for 1 million pounds, more than three times the estimate and a new auction high for a work solely by the artist, according to Sotheby’s.

“Then we heard an alarm go off,” Morgan Long, the head of art investment at the London-based advisory firm the Fine Art Group, who was sitting in the front row of the room, said in an interview on Saturday. “Everyone turned round, and the picture had slipped through its frame.”

The painting, mounted on a wall close to a row of Sotheby’s staff members, had been shredded by a remote-control mechanism on the back of the frame....

As the artwork shredded itself, a seemingly unperturbed Mr. Barker, the auctioneer and Sotheby’s European chairman, said, “It’s a brilliant Banksy moment, this. You couldn’t make it up, could you?”
Theater. It's all already been done, but it's a charming iteration of an old idea. It's not as though anyone really wants or needs a painting of a sentimental notion, a girl with a balloon! The art is something other than that, and it's cute to do the destruction at the auction, with the money (almost) in hand.

Reminds me of the 2-year-old who put her parents' $1,060 in cash through the family paper shredder, which we were just talking about yesterday. But the girl had no artistic intention — or did she?!! — so that's not the old idea I'm talking about. I'm thinking about stuff like "Erased de Kooning":



"It's not a negation. It's a celebration!"

30 comments:

MadisonMan said...

From an article in the Guardian: "It is unclear whether the prank will have destroyed or enhanced the value of the work."

So it didn't quite entirely self-destruct. There's still something there to own.

rehajm said...

I love this as it fits Banksy to a T. How could this be pulled off without Sotheby's knowing? Do they inspect the works that come into their charge? If you can sneak a remote detonator into Sotheby's and set it off I'm going to have to have a talk with the security consultants and a few auction oriented clients.

Henry said...

Reminds me of the comic nihilistic Swiss Artist Jean Tinguely. He established his reputation by creating mechanical contraptions that would draw abstract artwork.

The climax of his work was Homage to New York, a sculpture designed to destroy itself. This it attempted in comically bad form. It was eventually doused by the New York City fire fighters.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

1.4 million for charity would be a better purchase.

Darrell said...

The shredder was built into the bottom of the frame. It was remotely activated, not detonated. The drawing traveled two-thirds the way through the shredder.

Fernandistein said...

That is one cunning stunt.

rehajm said...

It was remotely activated, not detonated

My point- if you can remotely activate, you can also detonate.

Henry said...

Rauschenberg collaborated with Tinguely on the self-destructing sculpture.

I really like Tinguely and Rauschenberg. They didn't take themselves too seriously. A quick fun read that covers them, their godfather Marcel Duchamp, and some contemporaries is The Bride and the Bachelors by Calvin Tomkins.

etbass said...

People that stand around oohing and awing such stuff and think of it as art need a lot more than a little entertainment. Those that will pay $1M for it need even more.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I assume Sotheby's gets a commission for auctioning the art. I assume Banksy is on the hook for that commission on the $1.4 million sale if this caused the sale to fall through.

rhhardin said...

Here's a 4 hour train ride from Ninh Binh to Vinh (Viet Nam), engineer's view
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0Gi7hMdIj4

It's a way to spend a few minutes now and then waiting for something else to happen, like the beginning of a favorite radio show or for Scott Adams to post something at about the usual time.

What makes it art, though, is at 2:15:0, described as tai nạn giữa tàu SE5 và 1 đàn trâu.

Water buffalo accident.

Curious George said...

Fake

Darrell said...

The real Banksy fell off a building and died while starting a drawing more than a decade ago . London art dealers hire illegals to create pieces for sale.

rehajm said...

I assume Banksy is on the hook for that commission on the $1.4 million sale if this caused the sale to fall through

Generally commissions are the obligation of the buyer and ownership transfers at the hammer. There is dispute resolution but if the whole thing is legit would the buyer believe the value was diminished or enhanced?

EDH said...

The work, “Girl With a Balloon,” a 2006 spray paint on canvas... mounted on a wall close to a row of Sotheby’s staff members, had been shredded by a remote-control mechanism on the back of the frame....

Better yet, they should have had Corporal Agarn toss an arrow through it.

The Crack Emcee said...

MadisonMan said...

"So it didn't quite entirely self-destruct. There's still something there to own."

Yeah, a frame.

Darrell said...

Yeah, a frame

With the still-recognizable drawing hanging from the bottom. . .

robother said...

On the assumption that the whole thing (the auction and the self-destructing portrait) is a piece of performance art, presumably any recording could be regarded as the "art" being auctioned, and upon tender of such recording, Sotheby's and Banksy would be entitled to demand payment of the full auction price. Unless the litigation over that claim is also intended as part of the performance, in which case....

SayAahh said...

The title of the work is Going Going Gone.

Clyde said...

I can personally attest to the artistic possibilities of shredding. One of my main duties at work is Secure Destruction -- Verifying mail that would be returned to the sender, but the company has already been notified of the change of address information electronically and doesn't want the mailpiece back. Once I verify it, I run it through the shredder. Sometimes I add colorful mail from the trash at the end for a color accent.

Clyde said...

Colorful PAPER from the trash. Waste paper.

Tomcc said...

I know zip about art. I do suspect that Mr. Banksy was not only the creator of the piece, but also likely the buyer- someone acting on his behalf.

Rob said...

What a great contracts exam question this would make. Even if title transfers when the gavel goes down (which I'm not sure about), is the thing that was purchased the same as the thing that they then deliver? Rose of Aberlone, you live in my memory. Replevy that cow!

Yancey Ward said...

Yeah, if Bansky really wanted to make a point, he would have had his painting burn itself up. Shredding it allows the buyer to keep it, and not demand the return of his money. Indeed, though I don't think the painting is worth even $100, the shredding clearly enhances its value such as it is.

Bansky cloaks his materialism very well indeed!

Mark said...

though I don't think the painting is worth even $100, the shredding clearly enhances its value such as it is.

So you thinks someone would now offer $1.41 million for it?

TML said...

Absolutely fantastic video. I loved that so much. De Kooning didn't like it but he understood the idea. I'd like to know more about that word "understood" in the video. It carries possible tinges of approves, consents, allows, relents (in the face of an idea stronger than his love of his own work). This is just fascinating as a meta idea too. "'I'm going to make it so hard for you to erase this!""

Rockeye said...

https://youtu.be/t8RCQDDsMpU. I'm leaning towards "brilliant" on this

mtrobertslaw said...

The value of the piece is now $4.8 million.

Rockeye said...

I generally don't like performance art, but I love irony. I am now fully on board with "genius."

mikee said...

Still not as good as a furry teacup. But cuter.