In October 2018, one of Banksy's works, Balloon Girl, was sold in an auction at Sotheby's in London for £1.04m. However, shortly after the gavel dropped and it was sold, an alarm sounded inside of the picture frame and the canvas passed through a shredder hidden within the frame, partially shredding the picture.[134] Banksy then posted an image of the shredding on Instagram captioned "Going, going, gone...".[135] After the sale, the auction house acknowledged that the self-destruction of the work was a prank by the artist.[136] The prank received wide news coverage around the world, with one newspaper stating that it was "quite possibly the biggest prank in art history."[134] Joey Syer, co-founder of an online platform facilitating art dealer sales,[137] told the Evening Standard: "The auction result will only propel this further and given the media attention this stunt has received, the lucky buyer would see a great return on the £1.02M they paid last night, this is now part of art history in its shredded state and we'd estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to its value, possibly as high as being worth £2m+."[138] A man seen filming the shredding of the picture during its auction has been suggested to be Banksy.[139][140] Banksy has since released a video on how the shredder was installed into the frame and the shredding of the picture, explaining that he had surreptitiously fitted the painting with the shredder a few years previously, in case it ever went up for auction. To explain his rationale for destroying his own artwork, Banksy quoted Picasso: "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge".[141][142] (Although Banksy cited Picasso, this quote is usually attributed to Mikhail Bakunin.) [143] It is not known how the shredder was activated.[144] Banksy has released another video indicating that the painting was intended to be shredded completely. The video shows a sample painting completely shredded by the frame and says: "In rehearsals it worked every time...".[145]
In May, to coincide with the premiere of Exit Through the Gift Shop in Royal Oak, Banksy visited the Detroit area and left his mark in several places in Detroit and Warren.[93] Shortly after, his work depicting a little boy holding a can of red paint next to the words "I remember when all this was trees" was excavated by the 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios. They claim that they do not intend to sell the work but plan to preserve it and display it at their Detroit gallery.[94] There was also an attempted removal of one of the Warren works known as Diamond Girl.[95]
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