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Banksy Teaches the Art World about Value

At Sotheby’s auction house in London, street artist Banksy shocked the art world once again. His piece called the Girl with the Red Balloon, was sold for a staggering $1.4 million dollars. This was the same as the artist’s last record set in 2008. As soon as the auctioneer declared it sold, the frame that held the piece of spray paint and acrylic on canvas turned on and shredded the art in front of the entire audience.  Those that participated at the auction were stunned at first, but soon it turned to outrage. The auction house claims it had no knowledge that the frame was rigged to do that and the artist is to blame.

Banksy is a graffiti street artist who is famous for making art that makes headlines. Although his identity is a mystery, many people speculate he is an English born artist who now travels the world with his unique style of stenciled art. With a career that began in the 90’s and has now spanned over three decades, he continues to try and push the boundaries of what is considered art. He has never tried to sell or profit from his own art and many believe that this was his retaliation against the art auctioneers that did. Most of his work contains both an image and a slogan, commenting on a social or political topic.

The one question that everyone has now is where does that leave the winning bidder? There are some people who believe that the contract is final when the gavel goes down, but others argue it is not until money exchanges hands. That will be the subject of debate as Sotheby’s must decide if the sale will still go through. Considering the staggering amount of money, it might require legal advice to decide. Another thing to consider is the value of it after the spectacle, versus before. It was $1.4 million in pristine condition, but now that it has become a sensation the value could be more. Or, since it has now been shredded, it could be worth nothing. The value of art, like many things, depends on those who are viewing it and time will tell if this act of vandalism proves to raise the value or not.

Amanda Hadley

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.