The newspapers and internet are full of the incident of the shredding of Banksy's painting 'Girl with balloon'.

But (Quoting from BoredPanda):
People Were Amazed By Banksy’s Painting Shredding, But One Artist Noticed That Something Doesn’t Add Up

Josh Gilbert, an artist and blacksmith from Chicago, has some serious doubts about the shredding of the Banksy painting Girl with balloon (Youtube video) and suggests it is all a hoax:

His (three) arguments about the construction as shown in the Banksy video:

Those are pretty clearly x-acto blades attached to a piece of wood [...]. Presumably they are what is doing the actual "shredding". [...] but... they're mounted SIDEWAYS. You can see that there is no way these blades would cut canvas [...] mounted that way.

But you can see the blades are actually NOWHERE NEAR where the painting sits.

They're almost entirely towards the BACK of the painting. This would only really make sense if that was where the painting was going to come out [...] why would you put the blades there and have the painting come out of the front*

His conclusion:

When the wheel turns, the ACTUAL print is funneled back into the frame. It's safe. And simultaneously,a (halfway) pre shredded COPY is forced out of the bottom.

enter image description here He refers to this Youtube video by Knoptop, who actually made a miniature "Banksy Self-Destruct Shredding Artwork".

Was the Banksy picture in the frame shredded immediately after the auction?

* Personally, I find this argument the least convincing, because rollers can be used.

  • 1
    How is this notable? All that video shows is that's possible to construct a fake to mimic the observed effect.
    – 410 gone
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:10
  • 5
    If the supposedly notable claim is "The shredding is a hoax", the plain answer is "We have no way of telling". If the claim is "Could the shredding be a hoax?", the answer is "Yes, it could be".
    – user32299
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:33
  • 3
    @JanDoggen Well in that case it will be all over the news. I seriously doubt that it is appropriate to post a question that one knows there is no answer to in the opes that there might be one later, but that is for the mods to decide.
    – user32299
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:47
  • 4
    The claim that Banksy shredded the painting is clearly notable. This question might be better if that were the notable claim. related.
    – De Novo
    Oct 11, 2018 at 19:42
  • 2
    Adding fuel to the fire, banksyfilm on YouTube has released a more detailed movie which includes photos - at the 8 second mark - showing a more realistic shredding mechanism than the Exacto blades.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 18, 2018 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


The Banksy 'Pest Control Agency' has now authenticated the shredded painting as a genuine piece of Banksy art, retitling it "Love is in the Bin". The buyer has reportedly accepted the shredding.

The buyer's identity was not revealed but Sotheby's quoted her as saying: "When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history."

The shredded work is likely to be as valuable as the unshredded work was, and barring some extremely complicated conspiracy which would provide doubtful benefits to anyone, we can probably assume the shredding really occurred.

Reference: CBC News.

On the other hand Banksy has already shown himself to be a prankster in the cause of art.

  • 4
    Pest Control is a service acting on behalf of Banksy, so if the question is "did Banksy fool everyone", you should consider that this isn't an independent verification.
    – De Novo
    Oct 12, 2018 at 17:55
  • 5
    ...and, more to the point, it being an "authentic piece of Banksy art" doesn't in any way contradict the idea that the originally visible painting might have been preserved by the mechanism, while some other piece of Banksy art (pre-shredded or otherwise) was fed out the shredder feed.
    – Ben Barden
    Oct 12, 2018 at 20:50
  • 3
    @BenBarden: Then we get into a deep philosophical mess: Even if part of the art was preserved, another part of the whole artwork was (pre-?)shredded, and that part is also a Banksy art piece, so presumably also valuable...
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 13, 2018 at 2:04
  • Another circumstantial (hence just a comment) point in favour of it being real - in photos (e.g. this from Sotherby's) it looks like the 'shredding' didn't work especially well: many of the strips appear to be scored rather than cut all the way through. This makes more sense if it was real (non-optimal angles of the blades in Banksy's video) than fake (if he put in an already-shredded copy, why shred it badly?) Oct 13, 2018 at 13:18
  • Nice piece to read: How Banksy Authenticates His Work
    – user22865
    Apr 10, 2019 at 11:08

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