Was Sotheby's In On It?
The dramatic finale to Sotheby’s Contemporary art evening sale in London, Banksy’s self-destructing work of art Girl with Balloon (2006), was dampened a bit by the unforeseen need to re-open a lot from the Teiger sale unsold earlier in the evening. Sotheby’s porters quickly removed the beeping, half-shredded contraption so auctioneer Oliver Barker could complete the night’s business. And so he did. Over the hullabaloo, Barker watched as Sotheby’s staff replayed their bids from before as the auction audience tried to make sense of what had just happened.
Any hope Sotheby’s might have had that the incident would remain a contained footnote to the evening sale highlights quickly evaporated as news outlets, Twitter and Banksy himself on Instagram hyped the prank.
Immediately suspicion has focused on whether Sotheby’s was in on the caper. There has been surprisingly little examination of Banksy’s motives, somewhat oddly. Whichever direction one turns, there are a number of unanswered questions.
Here’s our attempt to sort some of it out:
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