Sunday, October 21, 2018

‘In Rehearsals It Worked Every Time’

Press image from Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Banksy, as seen in a press image from Exit Through the Gift Shop.


Banksy Milks His Prank for All It’s Worth – Banksy refused to relinquish the spotlight this week, uploading another video to his Instagram page to confess that despite flawless practice runs of the shredding stunt, a malfunction at Sotheby’s was to blame for only completing half the job. He also announced that, despite rumblings that Sotheby’s had a hand in the prank, “they weren’t” in on the trick.

‘In Rehearsals It Worked Every Time’: New Banksy Video Shows How His Sensational Sotheby’s Stunt Was SUPPOSED to Work

The frame was actually supposed to shred the whole thing.
The art world can’t stop talking about Banksy’s latest prank, shredding one of his own artworks moments after it hammered down for $1.3 million at Sotheby’s London. (We can’t either! But only because you can’t stop reading about it! It’s a vicious cycle.)
A week and a half after the stunt, the anonymous street artist is continuing to fuel the fire. Today, he posted a new video to his website titled “Shred the Love,” billed on Instagram as a “director’s cut” to “Shredding the Girl With Balloon.”
“Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did,” Banksy insisted. “Some people think the auction house were in on it. They weren’t.”
The film opens to the sounds of power tools, the shredder being carefully secreted within the frame. It gives a much better look at the hidden mechanism than the previous clip (images of knife blades, placed lateral to the frame, had provoked questions about whether such a set-up would actually work. The actual device looks more like a conventional shredder mechanism.)
The mechanism hidden in the frame of Banksy's <em>Girl With Balloon</em>, as seen in the "Director's Cut" of his video.
The mechanism hidden in the frame of Banksy’s Girl With Balloon, as seen in the “Director’s Cut” of his video.
It then cuts to footage of Sotheby’s fancy auction preview. As wealthy collectors sip bubbles and chase hors d’oeuvres, a man, presumably a Sotheby’s employee, talks up the now-infamous work, Girl With Balloon (2006).
“It’s I think by far the most asked-about lot in the sale,” he offers. “The artist put the frame on as well. You get that quite often with Banksy; he quite likes the romanticism of having a very ornate, you know, National Gallery-esque frame.”
It then shows the moments leading up to the activation of the device, and even a quick cut to a finger pressing the button of the device.
The moment the shredder mechanism was activated, as seen in the new video.
The moment the shredder mechanism was activated, as seen in the new video.
As far as pranks go, it’s been enormously successful—a viral news story that has spread far beyond the art world, dominating headlines in major newspapers and serving as a reliable topic for water cooler talk. An epilogue in the new video, however, proves that the frame only worked half as well as intended.
“In rehearsals it worked every time,” reads a subtitle. Then, there’s a test run of the frame in action, shredding not just halfway, but from top to bottom.
Still, we can’t help but wonder if the buyer, who agreed to pay for the work despite the unexpected damage, would have been quite so amenable if the piece wasn’t still partially framed, and therefore capable of being displayed more or less as-is. After the stunt took place, Banksy rechristened the work Love Is in the Bin and issued a new certificate of authenticity.

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Sarah Cascone

Senior Writer


Banksy’s ‘Self-Destructed’ Painting Is Reborn As a New Work

The original work, Girl with Balloon. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
On October 5, anonymous street artist and art-world prankster Banksy shocked onlookers at Sotheby’s (and subsequently the world) when the artist’s beloved “Girl with Balloon” was sold at its London auction for the equivalent of over $1.2 million then proceeded to “self-destruct.” After the work slid from its ornate frame, shredding like office paper, a question remained, what happens next? Thanks to a statement from Sotheby’s on Thursday, we now have an answer. Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, the tattered “Girl with Balloon” by Banksy has been reborn, recertified, and renamed as “Love Is in the Bin,” and the winning bidder is keeping the work, strips and all.
The buyer, described as a “European collector” and “long-standing client of Sotheby’s,” will proceed with the purchase at the same price as auctioned, not more, as some speculated. According to Sotheby’s, the buyer commented: “When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”
That same day on Instagram, Banksy wrote a quotation, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge,” attributed to Picasso, along with a video showing how the shredding device was built into the frame.
In the statement, Banksy’s former gallerist Steve Lazarides shut down any further speculation that the stunt was done in collaboration with the auction house. “I worked for him for 12 years,” he said, “the idea of him colluding with an institution to pull off a stunt is the complete antithesis to his philosophy.”
If you happen to be in London this weekend, the “new” work will be on view to the public at Sotheby’s new Bond Street Galleries on October 13 and 14.



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