Banksy shreds Girl With Balloon but not his credibility.
Two weeks ago the art world was “en fête” at London’s art week and the major auction houses held champagne swilling contemporary art auctions. There can be very few people who are not aware of the amazing stunt Banksy pulled off at Sothebys auction when his “Girl With Balloon” shredded itself at the very moment the auctioneer concluded the sale.
The stunt is a work of genius in its production, execution (Sotheby’s involvement?) and impact Banksy of course is mocking the art world’s obsession with wealth, value and profit.
Speculation and conspiracy surround this particular stunt by Banksy. Could this possibly have been fabricated in 2006 . Could this possibly really have been fabricated in 2006 in anticipation that it might appear in an auction years later? How many would Banksy have to make to ensure that the stunt could be executed in public rather than stymied by a private sale? Was it pure chance that this particular art piece would be mounted so visibly on the auction room wall rather than just wheeled in, given its 2 minutes in the sunlight on an auctioneer’s easel then trundled out again? Back in 2006 we had not yet had the first gold plated white gloved Urban Art Auctions (here), could anyone have reasonably predicted that Banksy’s art would be so lauded (i.e. expensive) as to be the highlight of an art week contemporary art auction?
Last weekend Sothebys put the so called new artwork on public display. Queuing was about 45 minutes on Sunday afternoon, the guards marshalled orderly lines of visitors, the artwork was beautifully hung to be visible from both sides, well lit, well sign posted and well controlled.
The catalogue listing for the original “Girl With Balloon” piece described the work as “signed and dedicated on the reverse”, presumably what looks like black tape in a recess on the back is masking the dedication but there’s the signature in all its glory.
Here is the news! Sister blog Graffoto by same author posted last Sunday about the rumours and speculation and associated ironies and included one prophetic statement:
“Was Plan A that Girl With Balloon would shred itself to complete destruction? If it had Banksy would have highlighted the precariousness and ephemerality of the trivia to which the art world attaches its highest valuations. We won’t know ever. “
That last bit – completely wrong! Within the past hour Banksy has released an updated video – well, we won’t spoil the ending, just watch!
All photos Dave Stuart except where otherwise credited
“Love Is In The Bin”: Graffoto