Banksy has denied suspicions that the shredding of ‘Girl with Balloon’ at Sotheby’s was an inside job.
The elusive artist shocked the art world on October 5 when his stencil print of ‘Girl with Balloon’ began to self-destruct after it was sold for $1.1 million at the exclusive auction house.
The partially shredded print is now on display at Sotheby’s and allegations that the auction house was aware of the prank quickly surfaced online. A spokesperson on behalf of Banksy has denied any collusion, saying: “I can categorically tell you there was no collusion between the artist and the auction house in any shape or form”.
“The painting had 27 confirmed bidders on the night,” they said. “A reputable auction house would never encourage their valued clients to bid on something they knew would be destroyed, their credibility would never recover.
“Banksy was as surprised as anyone when the painting made it past their security systems.”
Sotheby’s also responded to the claims, telling NME: “We had no prior knowledge of this event and were not in any way involved.
“We think our auctioneer and European Chairman Oliver Barker described it best from the rostrum on Friday evening: “A brilliant Banksy moment!”
The buyer of the iconic painting has confirmed that she will go through with the sale.
The new-look work has also been given a new title, Love Is In The Bin, and granted a certificate of authenticity by Pest Control, Banksy’s authentication team.
The anonymous woman said: “When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realise that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”