Last week, the Banksy art piece “Girl with Balloon” was auctioned at Sotheby’s for $1.4 million. As the auctioneer brought the hammer down on “Sold”, a shredder built into the frame of the painting came to lifeand the canvas slide at least part way through, coming out in strips. I’ve seen speculation that Banksy was in the room, and activated the shredder.
The woman that won the sale has now bought the “new” art for the same $1.4 million, a new title assigned to the work, and it’s being called a new work.
assuming this wasn’t planned between the artist, the gallery and the buyer, did Banksy have the right to do this? Let’s say that the shredder really was built into the frame before the art was ever sold, so the shredder could be called part of the art.
Banksy didn’t own the art, either before or after the auction.
Does it make a difference if the artist triggered the shredder at that moment? What if the shredder had been on a timer? Is there an expectation that when I buy art, it won’t self destruct, unless I’m told that is part of the package?