“In a moment that caught the art world by surprise, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon self-destructed just as the final hammer signaled the end of an evening of auctions in London. The work sold for £1,042,000 ($1.4 million), tying the artist’s record in pounds at auction previously achieved in 2008. The framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board depicted a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart shaped balloon – one of Banksy’s most iconic images – began to pass through a shredder hidden in the frame.”
Photo: Banksy’s Instagram
Days after the shredding, Banksy published the following two clips on his Youtube-channel:
The British government signed the Balfour Declaration on 2 November 1917, announcing support for establishing a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population. It read:
His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
Banksy commemorated the Balfour declaration with an apology on the segregation wall a few meters from his Walled Off Hotel and a small ceremony with a Queen Elizabeth impersonator.
An official statement from Banksy read:
“This conflict has brought so much suffering to people on all sides – it didn’t feel appropriate to ‘celebrate’ the British role. The British didn’t handle things well here. When you organise a wedding,” referring to the promise of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine, “it’s best to make sure the bride isn’t already married.”
Inside the Walled Off Hotel is an interesting museum on the situation created by the Balfour Declaration, curated by the Banksy team and Dr Gavin Grindon from Essex University.
Banksy entered Disneyland with an inflatable doll dressed as a Guantanamo detainee. He inflated the doll and placed it within the Thunder Mountain Railroad Ride. The doll remained there for 90 minutes before security guards removed the figure. The sequence was filmed and included in the film “Exit through the gift shop” a few years later.
On a Sunday, 13 March, Banksy hanged his work in four world-famous New York museums: MoMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum and American Museum of Natural History. The pranks were presented in the following way on http://www.banksy.co.uk:
On 7 April, Banksy entered Natural History Museum disguised as an employee. He carried a taxidermied rat in a glass-fronted box. The rat wears sunglasses and a complete graffiti kit. Apparently, the rat has sprayed “Our time will come” on the wall behind him. The installation comes with a printed explanation titled “Pest Control”. A few years later, Banky will set up his own certification office, the “Pest Control Office”.
On 17 October, Banksy entered Tate Britain disguised as a pensioner and stuck one of his creations in a vacant slot on one of the gallery’s walls. After a few hours, the painting, “Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us”, crashed to the floor, and the stunt was discovered. In his own words:
“To actually go through the process of having a painting selected must be quite boring. It’s a lot more fun to go and put your own one up. It’s all about cutting out the middle man, or the curator in the case of the Tate.I’m kinda into the message that vandalising a painting with police tape is how a lot of people see the world these days. People don’t actually see the world with Constable’s eyes with hay and rivers any more. The amount of paranoia and fear about violent crime and paedophilia makes mine a more accurate drawing of the English landscape we actually live in.”
A caption glued next to the painting read: “This new acquisition is a beautiful example of the neo post-idiotic style. Little is known about Banksy whose work is inspired by cannabis resin and daytime television.”