Iconic British street artist Banksy made headlines again.
The artist’s original work “Morons” has been physically burned and transformed into a digital representation by a group of collectors and investors.
The piece, which was worth around $100,000 before it was destroyed, ridicules collectors for purchasing expensive pieces of art. “Morons” was burned in New York on March 4 and the event was live-streamed.
According to the group, this digitized artform, also known as NFT (nonfungible tokens), is the future of the art industry.
Banksy, who has never disclosed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world's best-known artists. His mischievous and often satirical images include two policemen kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words, "Laugh now, but one day I'll be in charge."
In 2018, a work by the elusive street artist self-destructed in front of startled auction-goers, moments after being sold for 1.04 million pounds ($1.4 million).
The spray-painted canvas "Girl With Balloon" went under the hammer at Sotheby's in London, fetching more than three times its pre-sale estimate and equaling a record price for the artist.
Then, as an alarm sounded, it ran through a shredder embedded in the frame, emerging from the bottom in strips.
Banksy has a penchant for elaborate pranks. In 2005, he hung an image of a spear-toting ancient human pushing a shopping cart in the British Museum, where it remained for several days before being discovered. The next year he smuggled a life-sized figure of a Guantanamo Bay detainee into Disneyland.
"Girl With Balloon," which depicts a small child reaching up toward a heart-shaped red balloon, was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy's best-known images.
Last November, the painting "Bird with Grenade" by Banksy went under the hammer in the Netherlands for 170,000 euros (nearly $202,800).
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