Banksy painting self-shreds after selling at auction for $1.4 million

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The artist known as Banksy took part in that tradition recently, at the high priced auction for one of his Girl with Balloon paintings.

It's perhaps surprising that no alarm bells began ringing among the observers when the piece sold for the exact same sum as Banksy's previous auction record, set in 2008.

A mystery man films the aftermath of a Banksy work shredding itself after being sold at auction. (Normal people are having fun with the meme, too, of course.) Looks like whatever Banksy does will have an afterlife - even if the intention is to destroy, not create.

The artist also published a video that states that he secretly built the shredder into the frame in case the work was ever put up for auction. The auction house stated that it is "currently in discussions about next steps".

While most would assume the anonymous buyer would be furious at the destruction of his or her recent purchase, some believe the shredded artwork immediately increased in value due to its historical significance.

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A post on Banksy's official Instagram account showed the moment - and the shocked reaction of those in the room - with the words "Going, going, gone".

"I'd be surprised if it's not (Gunningham)", Steve Le Comber, one of the scientists, said to the BBC at the time. The shredding was equivalent to Banksy's vandalism in painting graffiti on the walls of buildings without the owners' permission.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", said Alex Branczik, head of contemporary European art at the auction house. He frequently turns to elaborate, clandestine pranks to needle the high-end gallery and museum scene which, while making him rich, has also served as foil for his satirical work.

This begs the question: is shredded art now all the rage?

"What he did is really shocking, in a good way", Koukjian said.

Artcurial will shortly auction three Banksy paintings, along with a resin-crafted figure of a rat holding a paintbrush signed by the artist.