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Source: Screenshot Banksy/Instagram

Bidder Who Bought Self-Destructing Banksy Painting For $1.4 Million Decides Next Steps

By Vanessa Nix Anthony

In a shockingly anarchistic move, the mysterious artist Banksy, best known for the playfully biting socio-political commentary ever present in their stenciled graffiti work (whose true identity is a secret) rigged a painting to immediately shred itself upon purchase. 

The piece was a spray paint on canvas originally called “Girl With Balloon.” Moments after it sold for $1.4 million at the Sotheby's auction Friday night in London, (a record for a Banksy), an alarm sounded and the painting began to shred itself to the horror of the art world's elite bystanders.

Banksy later posted footage from the auction event, sharing a video on Instagram that showed the shredder being installed on the inside of the frame, supposedly years ago, in preparation for the destructive act, should the piece ever be auctioned off. 

In true Banksy style, they added the caption:

The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.

The quote, which he mistakenly (maybe?) attributed to Picasso, actually comes from 19th-century Russian theorist of anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin.