Shock as Banksy shreds his own £1m artwork

Going, going, gone: Girl With Balloon was voted the UK’s favourite work of art last year.

Is Banksy a genius or a vandal? Last week, one of his most famous artworks was sold for £1 million. The painting self-destructed just as the sale went through.

What’s happening

Banksy is a very famous artist. Nobody knows his true identity, but his graffiti is famous around the world.

Last week, his painting Girl With Balloon sold for £1 million. Banksy had secretly put a shredder in the frame. When the sale finished, people watched in horror as the work destroyed itself.

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Although half of the painting is in ribbons, it may now be worth double the price. “This is now part of art history,” said an expert.

Banksy said he installed the shredder “a few years ago” in case the painting was ever put up for auction.

This is not the first time he has pranked the art world. In 2005, he put a fake cave painting on display in the British Museum. It took three days for the staff to notice.

Is Banksy a genius or a vandal?

Some say…

He is a genius! The great thing about graffiti artists is that their art is open to everyone. This stunt reminds us that money is not important — not even £1 million.

Others think…

He is a vandal. Graffiti is still a crime, even when the artist is famous. Besides, if his prank was supposed to mock expensive art then it failed. The painting is now worth even more.

You Decide

  1. Do you like Banksy’s art?

Activities

  1. Create your own artwork inspired by Girl With Balloon by Banksy.

Some People Say...

“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”

Mikhail Bakunin (quoted by Banksy on Instagram)

What do you think?

Word Watch

Identity
Who somebody is.
Graffiti
Artwork or writing on walls which is there against the rules.
Shredder
A machine to cut up paper.
Installed
Added, inserted.
Auction
A sale where the items are sold to the person who is willing to pay the most money.
Pranked
Performed a practical joke.
Staff
People who work in a certain place.
Stunt
Something done for attention.
Expensive
Something which costs a lot of money.

Subjects

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