On Friday, in London, during an auction at Sotheby's, Banksy's last extreme provocation was staged. An acrylic reproduction and spray paint on canvas of one of his most famous works, Girl With the Balloon, appeared for the first time on a wall of Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, has self-destructed in front of a crowd of astonished spectators. In fact, a moment after the auctioneer beat the gavel, confirming the sale, to an anonymous buyer on the phone, of the picture for the record figure of 1,04 million pounds (despite being estimated between 200 and 300 thousand pounds), canvas has slipped out from the bottom of the frame, reduced to many strips.

 A painting by Banksy self-destructs at auction  It is the latest provocation of the mysterious artist | Image 0

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", commented Alex Branczik, Sotheby's senior director.

Later, some witnesses even claimed to have glimpsed a man dressed in black, with a hat and sunglasses, suggesting that it was Banksy himself who was appropriately disguised. The theory could be supported by the street artist when, shortly after, he published two posts on his Instagram profile, in the first, accompanied by the caption "Going, going, gone", he claims responsibility for the "accident"; while in the second one shows with a video how the destruction of the painting actually took place. A few years ago, Banksy had hidden a shredder in the frame to operate if the painting had been auctioned. Commenting on the stratagem, the talented Englishman quotes a quote from Picasso: "Every desire for destruction is also a desire for creation". An elegant phrase to underline an action, most likely, to strongly and forcefully reiterate the man's opposition to the commodification of his work. Is destroying your work the definitive performance art? Perhaps we will find out from Wednesday 21 November to Sunday 14 April 2019, when the Mudec of Milan will host an exhibition "unofficial and not authorized by Banksy" (the writer has dissociated on Instagram). Entitled "The Art of Banksy, a visual protest", the retrospective will gather in the museum of via Tortona a mega collection of the works of the "faceless" street artist, about seventy works including paintings, sculptures, prints, objects, photographs and videos.

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Going, going, gone...

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