Art is being choked to death by money. The only rebellion left is for artists to bite the hands that feed them as Banksy appears to have done on Friday night
The moment I love most in the video Banksy has released of his latest art stunt is when a bespectacled man with the well-groomed air of an art-world professional puts his hand to his forehead in apparent disbelief at what he is seeing: a million quid being shredded. He looks genuinely frightened that the revolution has reached Mayfair and that activists are about to storm Sothebys, where Banksys framed picture Girl With Balloon has just mechanically self-destructed shortly after going under the hammer for a little more than 1m.
If this moment of artistic terrorism last Friday really had been as at least one member of the audience appeared to think the sign for all the collectors and dealers assembled at yet another big-selling night in the art industry to be dragged out of the auctioneers and shot, there would be VIP blood in the gutters of New Bond Street. For Banksy put his artwork through the shredder at the climax of the busiest week in the London art market, when international collectors fly in for the Frieze art fair and its satellite parties, private views and purchases. In the spirit of Frieze week, the October contemporary art evening auction is led by a selection of outstanding works, enthused Sothebys about its sale. Apparently, it had no idea that one of these modern treasures was booby-trapped.
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