Girl Got Banksyed
WHY BANKSY SHRED ‘GIRL WITH RED BALLOON’ AT SOTHEBY’S
“We’ve been Banksy-ed,” says Alex Branczik, head of Sotheby’s contemporary art in Europe, after one of Banksy’s most recognizable pieces “Girl With Red Balloon,” was shredded seconds after its auction at just over £1m. The canvas artwork originates from Banksy’s 2002 mural, and was later made famous when the artist used the image to support the Syrian refugee crisis in 2014, tagging the work with the words #withsyria. The image is beloved all over the world, even ranked as the United Kingdom’s number one favorite artwork. So why shred it?
The artist, unlike many of his graffiti contemporaries, has maintained his dislike of art-for-sale, and in a rare interview in 2013 with the Village Voice, Banksy makes a revealing point about his October 2013 residency in NYC, saying,
“There is absolutely no reason for doing this show at all. I know street art can feel increasingly like the marketing wing of an art career, so I wanted to make some art without the price tag attached. There’s no gallery show or book or film. It’s pointless. Which hopefully means something.”
Banksy has become synonymous with controversy over the last decade, so it’s also not surprising that this renegade would find a clever way to usurp the auction house’s sale of his work, managing to pull off one of the most shocking and sobering pranks in an auction house–ever. But the artist devoted to avoiding having his art sold is only getting more expensive and more sought-after, and it seems that Banksy has started looking for ways to dissuade auction houses from selling his work with million dollar price-tags, even going to far as to destroy his own pieces in defiance of the art-world.
Other artists have followed Banksy’s hit-and-run graffiti style, using public spaces as a canvas for their works, giving large audiences access to their art the way Banksy has. Alec Monopoly cites Banksy as one of his influences for his socio-political themed artworks, which began after the market crash of 2008 with his symbol of the Monopoly Man, meant to expose the greed of wall street at the time using the iconic cartoon character. Other Contemporary Pop Artists and Street Artists have continued this legacy of renegade artwork, including some of our very own artists.