Banksy, the enigmatic street artist and provocateur, intentionally sabotaged one of his famous paintings at a Sotheby’s auction last week, using a paper shredder hidden in the frame to chew the canvas into bits.
The stunt was only a half-success: The frame-mounted shredder hit a literal snag when the painting, Girl With Ballon, got stuck in the hidden shredder. Only half of the painting, which was sold for the absurd final price of $1.4 million, was tarnished, but the damage should have been far greater.
Although the artist hasn’t officially diagnosed the issue, it’s likely that Banksy’s prank was foiled by a routine problem that affects the humble office shredder worldwide: a paper jam. The New York Times speculates that the shredder’s jaws weren’t enough to mince up the canvas, whereas paper would have been an easier job.
The video’s end seems to align with that rationale. It shows the shredder tearing through a paper-print of the painting with ease, followed by Banksy’s only comment: “In rehearsals it worked every time…” The shredder was activated by a button, seemingly by some interloping figure in the audience.
It seems odd that Banksy’s caper could have been so easily derailed by a simple jam, especially when there are so many models claiming to be impervious to the problem. In any case, the prank still sowed all the chaos you’d expect, drawing gasps and befuddlement from the glitzy London audience.
The half-shredded painting was whisked away by security guards, and promptly renamed Love Is in the Bin in honor of its new garbage aesthetic. The woman who bought the tattered art will keep it, because its cultural cachet has predictably increased since being destroyed.
Source: New York Times
Originally posted on Popular Mechanics