Whether you believe that Banksy’s real identity is Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja or not, there is no doubt it is a real possibility, Del Naja also known as 3D is not only a world famous music artist, he has been a graffiti artist since the late 1980s.
One of Banksy’s most famous pieces, “Girl With Balloon”, self-destructed after being sold at Sotheby’s for a cool £1.02 million. Onlookers watched in a mix of horror and amusement as the canvas was destroyed by a shredder installed in the frame by Banksy himself. As often is the case with the anonymous artist, opinion was split. The Washington Post dubbed it “one of the most memorable art prank(s) in years”, but cynics were quick to chime in too.
What might have appeared to be a protest directed at the art world – occurring in the middle of Frieze week – the self-destruction seems to have actually increased the painting’s worth by twenty percent. It’s also been reported that the painting was sold in the final lot of the auction, leading people to believe that Banksy and the auction house were in fact in cahoots to end with a bang… and pick up some press. However, Sotheby’s has claimed innocence and Banksy was quick to take to his Instagram page to quote Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge”.
Always partial to a prank on the stuffy art world, FIB tracks back on some of Banksy’s more memorable pranks.
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Editor: Marie Mangion