Banksy is known the world over for his acts of rebellion, sticking two fingers up to the establishment with a series of poignant, humorous and provocative street artworks in unexpected locations. Recently he delivered perhaps his most famous artwork, protesting against the commodification of art by very publicly having his own work shredded at auction while horrified salespeople and investors looked on.
But was all really as it seemed? Was this wanton act of self-destruction the ultimate expression of anarchy and a troll of epic proportions, or actually a calculated and cynical scam to gain publicity and increase the value of his famous paintings?
Josh Gilbert, an artist and blacksmith from Chicago, has some serious doubts. Presenting his theory with impressive attention to detail, his arguments about something being fishy with the accepted version of events certainly carry some weight. “What piqued my interest was the appearance of the device in his video,” Josh explained to Bored Panda. “I’m a maker, so the way it was presented as being constructed struck a sour note with me. I re-watched Banksy’s artwork getting shredded several times and looked at stills, and it just didn’t make sense as a machine designed to shred a painting.”
“I’m also a magician, and when I started looking at it as a performance rather than documentation, that’s when it clicked.”
Being an artist himself, specializing in metal sculpture and modernized ‘art nouveau’ style wrought iron, Josh can appreciate the brilliance of Banksy, even if he’s not convinced by this particular stunt. “I still think Banksy is a famous artist not without reason, and I would definitely not call my theory “facts” at this point,” he told us. “It just seemed like a very fitting conclusion. I think Banksy is ultimately a performance artist and he’s doing a lot to stretch and expand what that means in popular culture.”
“That said, if it had been me trying to pull this kind of hoax, I like to think I’d do a bit of a better job covering it up. But maybe that’s all part of the performance? He wants to keep us guessing and talking about it, and he’s certainly done that!”
Who knows? No matter what you think about the stunt, there’s more to this story, that’s for sure. Scroll down to check out Josh’s findings below, and let us know what you think in the comments!